Defining Public Relations

Essay by mlp161136University, Bachelor'sA+, June 2006

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The formal practice of what today is called public relations is less than 100 years old. Yet during its relatively brief history, public relations have been defined in many widely differing ways. Not surprisingly, the earliest definitions emphasized the roles of press agency and publicity since these were major elements from which modern public relations grew (PRSA, Nd). Public relations is an effort to receive free news coverage in a publication, Web site, or broadcast program (Fabris, 2006). In this paper I will define public relations from three different sources, and include my own personal definition. I will also compare and contrast these definitions geared towards what public relations does and how it helps us.

From The Society of America

In 1988, in an attempt to solve this dilemma the many different definitions of Public Relations, the Society of America formally adopted a definition of public relations which has become the most accepted and widely used.

Their definition is defined as "Public relations helps an organization and its publics adapt mutually to each other". In this definition, the essential functions of research, planning, communications dialogue and evaluation are implied. Key words are "organization" rather than the limiting implication of "company" or "business", and "publics" which recognizes that all organizations have multiple publics from which they must earn consent and support (PRSA, Nd).

From Wikipedia

Public relations is the art and science of building relationships between an organization and its key publics. It is concerned with communications management (Wikipedia, 2006). Examples include:

1. Corporations use marketing public relations (MPR) to convey information about the products they manufacture or services they provide to potential customers to support their direct sales efforts. Typically, they support sales in the short and long term, establishing and burnishing the corporation's branding for a strong, ongoing...