Burton St. John's Past Projects
Here you'll find examples of various long and short format non-fiction pieces.
I naturally gravitate to people's stories through the book format.
Below, you'll see the eight books I've been involved in over a ten-year period.
To discuss your book project, contact me at
CASES IN PUBLIC RELATIONS STRATEGY (SAGE)
This book offers what no other public relations book offers: an exclusive focus on first-person accounts of public relations campaigns. More than 50 contributors reveal what worked (and what could have been improved) in their public relations initiatives. Here's SAGE's description. Rated by Book Authority as one of the top books to read about Public Relations in 2019.
PUBLIC RELATIONS AND THE CORPORATE PERSONA: THE RISE OF THE AFFINITIVE ORGANIZATION (ROUTLEDGE)
Much like people, corporations attempt to tell stories about the world around them. This volume is the first book-length examination of how U.S. corporations tell stories that attempt to show to citizens that they are not just businesses, but fellow, human-like companions. In 2018, this book became the third public relations book to be a finalist for the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication's prestigious Tankard Book Award. Here's a review from AEJMC's Journal of Public Relations Education and Routledge's description.
MR. LEE'S PUBLICITY BOOK: A CITIZEN'S GUIDE TO PUBLIC RELATIONS (PR MUSEUM PRESS)
Ivy Lee is considered one of the original founders of the modern field of public relations. For years, experts had maintained that Lee had never drafted a book. These experts were wrong. Commissioned by the PR Museum in New York, I second-authored Lee's unearthed manuscript. Here's the PR Museum's description and a related piece from Platform magazine.
CRISIS COMMUNICATION AND CRISIS MANAGEMENT: AN ETHICAL APPROACH (SAGE)
This book took on the distinctive approach of integrating ethical perspectives into all of its 21 crisis communication case studies. No other book devoted to covering crisis stories took on this approach. Here's SAGE's description.
PATHWAYS TO PUBLIC RELATIONS: HISTORIES OF PRACTICE AND PROFESSION (ROUTLEDGE)
This volume, which became one of the first public relations books to be a finalist for the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication's prestigious Tankard Book Award, provides stories about public relations that arose across a wide variety of times and places. Here's Routledge's description.
NEWS WITH A VIEW: ESSAYS ON THE ECLIPSE OF OBJECTIVITY IN MODERN JOURNALISM (MCFARLAND)
This books offers accounts from 19 scholars, many who were former journalists, about how objective storytelling in journalism is disappearing. Here's McFarland's description.
PUBLIC JOURNALISM 2.0: THE PROMISE AND REALITY OF A CITIZEN-ENGAGED PRESS (ROUTLEDGE)
This volume presented how 17 observers (many of them former journalists) saw journalism's storytelling changing as news consumers turned away from traditional news. Here's a review from Journalism and Mass Comm Quarterly and Routledge's description.
PRESS PROFESSIONALIZATION AND PROPAGANDA: THE RISE OF JOURNALISTIC DOUBLE-MINDEDNESS, 1917-1941 (CAMBRIA PRESS)
This book examines how the U.S. press saw its storytelling approaches greatly affected by the rise of the modern public relations industry between WWI and the onset of U.S. involvement in WWII. Here is Cambria Press's description.
Some storylines call for shorter pieces. With three decades of experience writing short articles, you'll find below some examples of my writing.
To discuss your story ideas, contact me at
As the contributing writer for a school of nursing magazine, who wrote all the stories for the publication, I had the privilege of meeting a wide range of individuals (nursing providers, nursing educators, and patients) who provided first-person accounts of how they met the challenges of today's complicated health care system. To see the range of stories I developed, go to the ODU School of Nursing Magazine site.
One of the biggest challenges in telling someone's story is to do it well within the space confines of an especially short piece. Below you'll see how I accomplished this regarding a person who had a very big story.
A good story often involves the effective marshalling of evidence. For over thirty years, I've been using reports to communicate evidence to clients' audiences in an understandable format . Many of these reports are held in confidence by my clients, but you'll find an example below.
To discuss your story idea, and what format can work best for you, contact me at
HAMPTON ROADS RESILIENT REGION REALITY CHECK
This report detailed how more than 130 people (government officials, non-profit workers, businesspeople, and residents) saw the story of climate change affecting the greater Norfolk/Virginia Beach area. Here is the report.
A good story requires more than simply the facts -- it must have a compelling point of view. Below you'll see some examples of my writing approach in this area.
To discuss how to best convey your point of view through a story, contact me at
An international magazine was interested in how ethics could be seen as central to public relations work, and I was glad to help tell this particular story. Here's the full piece at Communication Director.
Proposed changes to the U.S.'s health care system meant for-profit health care companies needed to embark on extensive risk and crisis communication. In this piece, I use both my professional and academic backgrounds to offer a brisk analysis of these companies' efforts. You'll find it at The Conversation.
Part of knowing good stories is having an eye and ear for what journalists are doing. I wrote this piece for a major daily on how journalism needs to adjust its practices. You can find it here.