PR Industry / Professionalism

The many layers of public relations

So, what do you associate with the term public relations? There are probably endless versions of responds to that question, and it could certainly not be determined in one clear sentence. Given the fact that PR is used in a massive range of industries, and that each of these industries requires slightly different skills and competencies, it does not exist one universally agreed definition of PR.

In their book ‘Managing Public Relations’ from 1984, Grunig and Hunt defined PR in one simple sentence; “PR is the management of communication between an organisation and its publics”. In many ways it could actually be this straightforward, however, this would also neglect to clarify the many layers PR consist of.  Still, definitions are important to be able to identify PR credentials, especially for external interest parties, or just the general publics’ opinion.

The problems with defining PR are probably also related to the enduring discussion about PR as a professional body, but this is not something I will elaborate on further, as we have already written a whole essay about this issue, and I will not endanger this blog post to end up in a similar way (for your cause).

Nevertheless, I would like to share with you this fun and interesting article I stumbled across the other day. The team behind PR Newswire have used social media to ask people to complete the sentence “PR is _______”, whereas they received many insightful responds that they developed into an infographic to illustrate the variety of depth of the answers. When considering my question earlier, could you find your answer in the infographic?

Overall, I think that the diversity within public relations is what makes it so unique and exploratory, and is also why so many people choose to be PR professionals. Our teachers Pam Williams and Michaela O’Brien presented us with some quotes in one of our first classes of this module, and I think this fits right in here: “Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some hire public relations officers” (by Daniel Boorstin).

I’m truly looking forward to take upon the challenges and opportunities the PR future will bring; I can’t wait!

– Maria


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