Public relations (PR) has encountered a vast majority of change and challenges in the short 100 years that it has been around, including how it’s defined. According to the 2010 textbook, The Practice of Public Relations, it is a distinctive management function which helps establish and maintain mutual lines of communications, understanding, acceptance, and cooperation between an organization and its publics (p. 1-38). The text supplied many others, but I felt this was the most easily understood definition. However, a very important strategy in public relations that wasn’t mentioned in that definition is to persuade.
There are four key ways in which Communications professor John Marston founded that are necessary for public relations: research, action, communication, and evaluation. These four influences of public opinion are good to keep in thought.
Integrated Strategic Communication is, in my opinion, directly correlated to public relations. It involves a particular organization or company’s motives to lead, persuade, motivate, and inform their target public. When doing so, they have different things to aim for and look out for. One example is that they are to determine how different messages are created and set up, while figuring out why they get the responses they do. Now, it took me a few reads to feel like I grasped the idea here, but I feel as if Integrated Strategic Communication is the first step taken; then following that, public relations is up to bat.
So where does journalism have a part in all of this? It is responsible for the majority of these two tactics history. It’s a slippery slope when identifying what journalism represents and what public relations represents because of the fact that the two are so easily misunderstood or confused for the other. According to Dr. Anthony Curtis, a journalist’s main intention is to provide their readers and audiences with accurate, reliable information they need to function in society. A public relation professional’s work is intended to influence the public opinion, while also promoting and protecting an individual or organization’s image and products (Curtis). After reading Dr. Anthony Curtis’ article on what they both do and how they differ, it became a distinct and understandable difference for me. They’re like hot and cold: sometimes in the slightest chance, they may benefit each other; but in others, they are just two different extremes.
To shed some light on how they are similar, research is very vital to both of their goals. They must conduct research on the topic at hand, while paying attention to the attitudes of the people involved in the issue: the organization members or the audience members. Without doing this, neither professionals can execute their task accurately. As a past professor of mine, Dr. Jim Neale, always stated, “you can’t write about something you don’t know about”. They also play hand in hand when it comes to one of the main tasks a public relations professional does: press releases. A journalist is always thriving for new news! The goal of a press release is to supply the journalist with news wile enhancing the client’s public image (Curtis). Both the public relations professional and the journalist benefit from this in their own way. This doesn’t mean that whatever the press release states, the journalist agrees with. It’s simply a way for both to become closer to their goal of research and informing their audiences with the information they find.
If you would like to learn more, refer to the class text or read more of Dr. Anthony Curtis’ article on Journalism and Public Relations.
Image displayed is credited to Joshua Delung from his blog titled, “Journalism vs. Public Relations Writing, Ethics” on July 7hth, 2008 via blogspot.com.