Public Relations as a Profession: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow


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Public Relations as a Profession: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

  1. 1. Public Relations as a Profession:Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow Joann Vaglica Professor Prusslin Research Paper November 2011
  2. 2. Origin• “Public relations” became mainstream in the 20th century, but roots trace all the way back to Ancient Greek, Roman and Egyptian times.• Georgiana Cavendish, the Duchess of Devonshire, was recognized as a publicist for Charles James Fox. Cavendish‟s work included “press relations, lobbying and, with her friends, celebrity campaigning.”• Edward Bernays, nephew to Sigmund Freud, founder & publicist.• Ivy Lee, John W. Hill and Carl Byoir are publicists who all enforced the role of the profession by representing the Committee on Public Information, an “organized publicity on behalf of U.S. objectives during World War I.”• PR was also first used for “circuses, theatrical performances, and other public spectacles…support of railroads…many scholars believe that the first appearance of the term „public relations‟ appeared in the 1897 Year Book of Railway Literature.”
  3. 3. Definition• Public relations professional a.k.a. publicist.• Earliest definition evolved from the “changing roles and technological advances… that emphasized press agents and publicity, while more modern definitions incorporate the concepts of „engagement‟ and „relationship building‟.”• Public Relations Society of America 1982 National Assembly defines the term: “Public relations help an organization and its publics adapt mutually to each other.”• “Organization” includes: businesses, trade unions, government agencies, voluntary associations, foundations, hospitals, schools, colleges, religious groups and other societal institutions.”• “Publics” indicates: “to understand the attitudes and values of — and to develop effective relationships with — many different stakeholders, such as employees, members, customers, local communities, shareholders and other institutions and with society at large.”
  4. 4. Public Relations Society of America • Major organization with over 20,000 professionals in PR. • This organization, commonly known as the PRSA, originated in 1947. • Largest organization of professionals in public relations worldwide.• Providers of “professional development, they set standards of excellence and uphold principles of ethics for its members and, more broadly, the multi-billion dollar global public relations profession…advocating for greater understanding and adoption of public relations services.”
  5. 5. PRSA Core Values• To protect and advance the free flow of accurate and truthful information • To foster informed decision making through open communication • To protect confidential and private information • To promote healthy and fair competition among professionals • To avoid conflicts of interest • To work to strengthen the public‟s trust in the profession
  6. 6. Public Relations• Counseling Fields • Research • Media Relations• Publicity • Employee/Member Relations • Community Relations• Public Affairs • Government Affairs, Issues • Management• Financial Relations • Industry Relations • Development/Fund Raising• Minority Relations/Multicultural Affairs • Crisis Management • Special Events• Public Participation • Marketing Communications
  7. 7. Tactics• News release: sent to journalists and editors for potential use in a publications column.• Publicity photos: used to accompany news releases.• Mat release: type of feature piece, provides the public with “consumer information and tips in an objective manner with only brief reference to the non-profit organization that has distributed the information via a distribution firm.”• Media advisory and fact sheets: Media advisory‟s let journalists know of any upcoming events and a fact sheet is used as an outline—the five W‟s and 1 H—of an event.• Media kits, also known as press kits, contain the news and mat releases, photos and fact sheets about a product, event or any newsworthy project.• “Pitching” a letter: a publicist will pitch a letter, or a story idea, to journalists and editors at a publication, the more creative angle you have to your article, the more appealing it will come across to the receiver of your letter.
  8. 8. Tactics Cont’d.• Audio news release: an announcement and a quote from a spokesperson, no longer than 60 seconds• Broadcast media tours, which occur in two formats; radio media tour and TV satellite media tour. Both occur when an organizations spokesperson is stationed at one location and can be interviewed by people nationwide.• Video news releases: easily edited and formatted for TV, but are expensive.• News feeds: when an organization “arranges for coverage of a particular event and television stations across the country can watch it in real time or receive an edited version”• Website and streaming media…podcasts, weblogs, blogs, and webcasts are all ways to transmit information.• Personal appearances• Product placement
  9. 9. PR as a Profession• Approximately 51,000 job openings a year for this position, with a 24% growth rate.• Currently, over 275,000 professionals working in public relations, with a “projected employment of 341,300 by 2018.”• Rated number 46 of 500 as one of the best jobs.• Standard work week of 40 hours,• Currently approximately 20%-25% of publicists working part time and 3% are self-employed.• Compromised of 70% women• Publicists earn just under $50,000 annually• Top earners making a bit less than $90,000 annually.• Entry-level publicists earn around $28,080• “Corporate, or in-house communications is generally more profitable, and communications executives can earn salaries in the mid six-figures, though this only applies to a fraction of the sectors workforce.”
  10. 10. Spin Doctor• Term from the 1980‟s, people used it to describe public affairs professionals and press secretaries. Today, people use the phrase to describe anyone in public relations• When the public is “skeptical of information provided to them [by professionals,] they refer to them as „spin doctors‟.”• Achieved through providing an interpretation of an event or campaign to persuade public opinion in favor or against a certain organization or public figure• “Spin” occurs when a publicist portrays events in a bias way, by manipulating tactics and/or by presenting only evidence sufficient enough to prove ones side of a story. The assumption of facts and usage to cover them up or make them ambiguous” and distortion and “burying of facts to avoid having them reported.”