What Is Public Relations?

In our public relations book, Public Relations: A Values-Driven Approach by David Guth and Charles Marsh the first chapter talks about the definition of public relations and the difficulty of defining the term public relations.  I also looked up a definition of public relations and wise geek defined PR similarly to our book.  I thought it was interesting that because of the negative connotations of the term public relations, some companies refer to public relations in other ways.  For example, they may call public relations public affairs or corporate communications.  I’ve personally never heard of a company calling this profession anything other than public relations. 

Although I’ve learned about public relations in class and through my internships, I’ve never learned the specific elements of public relations: a management function, two-way communication, a planned activity, a research-based social science, and socially responsible.  Even though there are four models of public relations, I agree with the book that the two-way symmetrical model form of communication is the best.  I think of it best as having a conversation.  Conversations do not work if both people are not talking.  If one is only talking and one is only listening, usually one person loses interest.  If public relations professionals are constantly sending out information without listening to the the publics in which they are sending it to, the public may lose interest.   

I enjoyed reading about the profiles of different PR practitioners.  The short descriptions of public relations agencies, corporations, government, nonprofit organizations, and independent public relations consultants quickly gave an overview of exactly what PRos in that field do.  The case studies showed how values are the main things that drive public relations practitioners to do what they do. 

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One thought on “What Is Public Relations?

  1. It is always interesting to read what other people think about Public Relations and the definition they give. Also one thing that we talk about in our school is that we call PR media relations, or community relations. So that is just what we have learned here at UVU, and we hope you will come by our site and leave some comments about whatever thanks.

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