COMM 2322 – Chapter 1

What is Public Relations?
Chapter One of Public Relations: Strategies and Tactics attempts to tackle this broad question by addressing different components of the public relations world, ranging from definitions of PR to the integration of PR in jounalism, advertising, and marketing.

Here are some bits of information that I found worth remembering:

A Variety of Definitions
Before reading the chapter, I had no idea what public relations was all about or what it involved. As a definition person, I was hoping for a nice, brief explanation of public relations, but was left with a long list of different meanings. Some definitions were short and sweet, while some were more technical and lengthy. Because public relations is such a dynamic, and always changing practice there is no perfect definition. In addition, different PR organizations focus on different responsibilities. My favorite definition, however, is the following:

“Public relations is a process involving many subtle and far-reaching aspects. It includes research and analysis, policy formation, programming, communication, and feedback from numerous publics.”

This is my preferred definition for many reasons. It describes that public relations can be both local and global, introduces us to its functions, and acknowledges its reliance on feedback from the public.

Public Relations as a Process
One important aspect of public relations is that it is a process. Public relations is not a static practice, but is always changing due to new technologies and public feedback. For example, the book describes PR as a 6-step cycle:
1. Research and Analysis
2. Policy Formation
3. Programming
4. Communication
5. Feedback
6. Assessment

I believe assessment in crucial to today’s PR programs. Without considering the attitudes and opinion of the publics or making adjustments, a business/organization will never improve or become successful.

Components of Public Relations
Public Relations is a vital part of an organization because it is involved in a countless number of tasks in a variety of departments. Here are the basic components of PR, listed in the text:
Counseling, research, media relations, publicity, employee/member relations, community relations, public affairs, governmental affairs, issues management, financial relations, industry relations, development/fund-raising, multicultural diversity, special events, marketing communications.

Essential Abilities
Public relations specialists must be well-rounded individuals. Because public relations specialists are involved in many activities they must possess these five skills in order to be successful in their field:
Writing Skill
Research Ability
Planning Expertise
Problem-Solving Ability
Business/Economics Competence

If I want to be successful in the field of PR, I must sharpen my business/economics knowledge.

I’m excited to continue learning about the field of public relations and find out what skills I can improve on to make a difference in my future career! To find out more information or explore to the world of PR for yourself check out Public Relations: Strategies and Tactics by Dennis L. Wilcox and Glen T. Cameron.


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