The Evolution of Public Relations
Chapter two of Public Relations: Strategies and Tactics focuses on the history of public relations and the direction the profession is heading. Although the digital age has extremely transformed PR, according to the text, “the practice of public relations is probably as old as human communication itself.”
Here is some important information from chapter two:
The Beginnings of Public Relations
The practice of public relations has been around since the time of the ancient Egyptians. The Greeks, Plato, Julius Caesar, St. Paul, and the early Roman Catholic church all used methods of public relations to persuade and inform the communities around them. Public relations also played an important role in the Boston Tea Party and the attractions of showman Phineas T. Barnum. In addition, westward expansionists and early American politicians fused public relations into their publicity and promotion acts.
Four Classic Models of PR
Press Agentry/Publicity– distribution of information that may be exaggerated, distorted, or even incomplete to “hype” a cause, product, or service
Public Information– based on the journalistic ideal of accuracy and completeness, and the mass media is the primary channel
Two-Way Asymmetric– help the communicator better understand the audience and how to persuade it
Two-Way Symmetric– use of “relationship building” as there is a mutual understanding of purpose and communication between an organization and its audience
Feminization of the Field
The most dramatic change in the field of public relations is the tranformation of PR from a male-dominated field to one in which women constitute about 70% of practitioners. Here’s why:
1. Women find a more welcoming environment in PR and see more opportunities for advancement
2. Women make more money in the PR field than in traditional female-dominated professions (teaching/social work)
3. A public relations firm can be started without a lot of capital
4. Women tend to have better listening and communicating skills
5. Women are more sensitive in 2-way communication
The Future of Public Relations
This second of the chapter is particularly important for students like me who are interested in a career in the public relations profession. We must be ready to face the changes that are constantly taking place within the field such as a multicultural world, the public demand for transparency, the expanding role of PR, an increased emphasis on measurement and evaluation, the managing of the 24/7 news cycle, the fragmentation of the mass media, the rise of social media outlets, and the need for lifelong learning.
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.