Chapter 1 – What is Public Relations?

The textbook cites various definitions of public relations, but the one that sums it up best for me is:  “Public relations is the management function that identifies, establishes and maintains mutually beneficial relationships between an organization and various publics on whom its success or failure depends.” (Effective Public Relations).

Public relations differs from journalism in scope, objective, audience, and channel.  Journalists gather information to provide the public with news, objectively and without bias, while public relations professionals may use negotiating and counseling skills for conflict prevention and resolution.

There are five essential abilites a public relations person should possess, which are:

  • Effective writing skills
  • Research ability
  • Planning expertise
  • Problem solving
  • Business and economics competence

What I learned from this chapter:

  • Public relations people function in many different roles, many of which are specialized.
  • Currently, the top three places for public relations employment is with corporations, non-profit organizations and public relations firms.
  • Employers look for people who are media savvy; have the ability to make cordial contacts, possess good writing skills, are intelligent and who have a well-rounded education in the arts and humanities and who keep current with cultural events.
  • PRSA is the public relations society of America, which among other things, establishes a code of ethics for public relations professionals.

Source: Public Relations Strategies and Tactics, www.sjsu.edu/people/dennis.wilcox

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