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Brabham, D. C. (2012). Editor’s introduction: A new journal for case studies. Case Studies in Strategic Communication, 1, article 1. Available online:

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Editor’s Introduction:
A New Journal for Case Studies

Daren C. Brabham
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Welcome to the launch of Case Studies in Strategic Communication, a new online, peer-reviewed journal featuring case studies in public relations, advertising, marketing, and other strategic communication domains. The goal of CSSC is to publish cases primarily for teaching purposes and for practitioners. Cases have enjoyed an important place in the classrooms of many disciplines. Case studies present “the concrete narrative detail of actual events” relating to an organization or situation (Boehrer & Linsky, 1990, p. 44), inserting students into the complex decision-making processes of a strategic communication context.

Many higher education programs in strategic communication offer or require students to take a course in case studies, and other courses in these programs rely on case studies as important teaching tools. Those who teach these courses draw case studies from edited collections or textbooks, from current events, or from award and competition websites, such as the Arthur W. Page Society Case Study Competition in Corporate Communications and the Public Relations Society of America’s Silver Anvil Awards.

As useful as these case collections are, however, they could be better. Textbooks and edited collections–all things in print, really–are quickly outdated. Award-winning cases are almost always success stories, and some are written by organizations and agencies as promotional pieces, leaving stories of strategic communication failure under-reported. It seems most case studies focus on the activities of large corporations, large nonprofits, and major government agencies, too, leaving small businesses, start-ups, and local nonprofit organizations without much coverage in the classroom. And there is no common format for these case studies, no common set of pedagogical features, no consistent emphasis on all facets of the strategic communication process–research, objectives, strategies, tactics, and evaluation (Parkinson & Ekachai, 2006).

CSSC hopes to improve this case study landscape. CSSC will make current and relevant cases available quickly by publishing online and in a rolling publication schedule. The journal will also seek cases that are diverse in their organizational coverage, seeking to include cases about multinational corporations as well as small businesses, international NGOs and local nonprofits, and governmental agencies at all levels. CSSC also seeks cases that discuss failures and shortcomings, not just success stories, as moments of failure often provide the best learning opportunities.

To facilitate rapid dissemination of case studies, CSSC will publish cases online as soon as they make it successfully through the peer-review process. What this means is that there will be no quarterly issues. Each year will begin a new volume, and as each article is published it will be added sequentially in the journal’s pagination. At the end of the year, the volume will be concluded and the next year will bring the start of a new volume with a fresh start on page numbering. This a model that has been proven to work well for other online journals, such as the International Journal of Communication, and it allows the journal to respond quickly to developments in strategic communication without a concern for the publishing cycles of the print world. As an online journal, too, CSSC welcomes multimedia examples in its cases.

With the backing of a hard-working and talented editorial board and editorial staff, it is my pleasure to announce that CSSC is off and running. I look forward to receiving case study submissions, and I hope that this living collection of case studies in strategic communication becomes a useful resource for teachers and practitioners as it continues to grow.


Boehrer, J., & Linsky, M. (1990). Teaching with cases: Learning to question. New Directions for Teaching and Learning, 42, 41-57.

Parkinson, M. G., & Ekachai, D. (2006). International and intercultural public relations: A campaign case approach. Boston, MA: Pearson.

DAREN C. BRABHAM is the founding editor of Case Studies in Strategic Communication and an assistant professor in the School of Journalism & Mass Communication at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Email: daren.brabham[at] Web:

Editorial history
Published March 10, 2012
Not peer-reviewed