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History of Public Relations


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From the Rosetta Stone to the Boston Tea Party to the "Torches of Freedom" to today's digital age, public relations or responsible advocacy (and sometimes not so responsible) have been a part of the human landscape.

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  • Kevin:

    Excellent job. Aligns with the one lecture I do on PR history. Probably shouldn't really be all that different, should it. Particularly like the material on Arthur Page and Harold Burson. Wondering if there should also be a slide on Dan Edelman? Just a thought.
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History of Public Relations

  1. 1. The History of Public RelationsThe History of Public Relations PRSA Certificate in Principles of Public Relations April 26, 2014
  2. 2. As old as civilization... Informing People Persuading People Integrating People with People
  3. 3. Printing Press and PRPrinting Press and PR • Johannes Gutenberg invents printing press in 1439 • Martin Luther pounds “Ninety-Five Theses” to Wittenberg Cathedral Door in 1517 • Printing Press Reproduces Luther’s Document
  4. 4. Persuading Public Opinion:Persuading Public Opinion: Rhetoricians and Press AgentsRhetoricians and Press Agents Samuel Adams “No taxation without representation.” 1773 Boston Massacre 1773 Boston Tea Party
  5. 5. Persuading Public Opinion:Persuading Public Opinion: Rhetoricians and Press AgentsRhetoricians and Press Agents Used symbols such as the Liberty Tree and Brown Rattlesnake: easily identifiable and provoked emotion
  6. 6. PR Stunt in Boston HarborPR Stunt in Boston Harbor
  7. 7. Persuading Public Opinion:Persuading Public Opinion: “Old Hickory’s” Press Secretary“Old Hickory’s” Press Secretary Amos Kendall: First presidential press secretary; Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren
  8. 8. Persuading Public Opinion:Persuading Public Opinion: Press AgentsPress Agents PT Barnum: Master of Press Agentry -- Hype General Tom Thumb Jenny Lind “the Swedish Nightingale” Jumbo the Elephant Joice Heath, world’s oldest woman
  9. 9. Journalistic & Publicity Tradition Industrial Revolution: Businesses making enormous profits, but losing public support Workers organizing into unions Public relations became a specialized function
  10. 10. Ivy Ledbetter Lee; 1877-1934Ivy Ledbetter Lee; 1877-1934 1904: Ivy Lee & partner, George Parker (both newspaper veterans) formed the nation’s third publicity agency. Business Must Open Up; The Public Must Be Informed
  11. 11. Tell the TruthTell the Truth Business & industry should align with public interest Carrying out programs only with active support of management Maintaining open communication with media Humanizing business & bringing PR down to the community level
  12. 12. Edward Bernays; 1891-1995Edward Bernays; 1891-1995 Nephew of Sigmund Freud Believed audiences could be persuaded if messages supported their values and interests Staged media events & third party spokespeople
  13. 13. Bernays’Bernays’ “Torches of Freedom”“Torches of Freedom” Freedom Torches Light’s Golden Jubilee
  14. 14. Leading to “Fireside Chats”Leading to “Fireside Chats” • Samuel Morse invented the telegraph in 1837 • Alexander Graham Bell, the telephone in 1875 • Thomas Edison, the phonograph in 1877 • Louis Lumiere, the motion picture camera in 1895 • Guglielmo Marconi, the radio in 1895
  15. 15. Leading to PropagandaLeading to Propaganda “No one who has not lived for years in a totalitarian land can possibly conceive how difficult it is to escape the dread consequences of a regime’s calculated and incessant propaganda.” – William L. Shirer
  16. 16. PR and BusinessPR and Business Arthur Page, Vice-president at AT&T Insisted on PR as a management function.
  17. 17. Arthur Page’s Six Principles ofArthur Page’s Six Principles of Public RelationsPublic Relations Tell the truth Prove it with action Listen to the customer Manage for tomorrow Conduct PR as if the whole company depends on it Remain calm, patient and good- humored
  18. 18. Harold Burson/Agency ApproachHarold Burson/Agency Approach Founded Burson-Marsteller in 1953 His keys to agency’s success: Hiring a cadre of dedicated employees who worked for the firm for many years Developing a family atmosphere with a team approach Creating a corporate culture proactively Positing the firm as a leader
  19. 19. Professionalization of the PracticeProfessionalization of the Practice PRSA IABC IPRA WOMMA Formal Education, & Textbooks, Professional Publications
  20. 20. New StakeholdersNew Stakeholders Sweeping societal changes: Social Movements Technology (IC, Web, Social Media) Gov’t and community relations, issues management, investor relations, strategic planning
  21. 21. Four Models of PRFour Models of PR Press Agentry: One- way, focused on “hype” Public Information: One-way, intent is to inform. Two-Way Asymmetrical: creating campaigns based on scientific research Two-Way Symmetrical: Purpose is mutual understanding.
  22. 22. Internet & GlobalizationInternet & Globalization Quick adoption of the Internet Push vs. Pull Global Information Demand/Oversaturation Proliferation of channels
  23. 23. Major TrendsMajor Trends “Radical Transparency” Decline of “legacy” media Rise of Social Media/Digital Native Media 24/7 Global News Cycle Outsourcing to PR firms Lifelong learning