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Encyclopedia > Public relations

Public relations (PR) is the practice of manging the flow of information between an organization and its publics.1 PR aims to gain an organization or individual positive exposure to their key stakeholders. Common activities include speaking at conferences, winning industry awards, working with the press and employee communications. Arrested Development is a character-driven Emmy Award-winning American comedy television series that ran from November 2, 2003 to February 10, 2006, about a formerly wealthy and habitually dysfunctional family. ... Public Relations was the eleventh episode aired of the TV comedy series Arrested Development. ...



The Public Relations Society (PRSA) of America coined the first widely accepted definition of Public Relations in 19882, "Public relations helps an organization and its publics adapt mutually to each other." According to the PRSA, the essential functions of Public Relations include research, planning, communications dialogue and evaluation. 3

Edward Louis Bernays, who is considered the founding father of modern public relations along with Ivy Lee, defined public relations as a management function which tabulates public attitudes, defines the policies, procedures and interest of an organization followed by executing a program of action to earn public understanding and acceptance," in the early 1900s(see history of public relations). Ivy Ledbetter Lee (July 16, 1877 – November 9, 1934) is considered by some to be the founder of modern public relations, although the title could also be held by Edward Bernays. ...

Today "Public Relations is a set of management, supervisory, and technical functions that foster an organization's ability to strategically listen to, appreciate, and respond to those persons whose mutually beneficial relationships with the organization are necessary if it is to achieve its missions and values." (Robert L. Heath, Encyclopedia of Public Relations). Essentially it is a management function that focuses on two-way communication and fostering of mutually beneficial relationships between an organization and its publics.

There is a school of public relations that holds that it is about relationship management. Phillips, explored this concept in his paper "Towards relationship management: Public relations at the core of organisational development" paper in 2006 which lists a range of academics and practitioners who support this view.

The Industry Today

The public relations industry is most prominently separated into two camps - in-house and agency. As industry consolidation becomes more prevalent5 organizations are more often faced with a choice between boutique firms or large global agencies. Smaller firms typically specialize in only a couple topic areas so they have a greater understanding of their client's business and stronger relationships with journalists in a specific market. They are also often cheaper and grant more attention to smaller clients. [1]. Larger firms have access to more resources and experts in certain areas of public relations.

Almost any organization that has a stake in how it is portrayed in the public arena employs some level of public relations. Most often one or more PR managers that work for the company works with a team of agency employees that work on several different accounts. Large organizations have larger dedicated teams for PR. [2].

Public relations is an important management function in any organization. An effective public relations plan for an organization is developed to communicate a message that coincides with organizational goals and seeks to benefit mutual interests whenever possible[3].

A number of specialties exist within the field of private relations, such as Investor Relations or Labor Relations. Investor relations is a set of activities which relate to the ways in which a company discloses information required for regulatory compliance and good investment judgment to bond and/or shareholders and the wider financial markets. ... A Boeing employee speaks at an industrial relations rally The field of labor relations looks at the relationship between management and workers, particularly groups of workers represented by a labor union. ...

Methods, tools, and tactics

Public relations and publicity are not synonymous but many PR campaign include provisions for publicity. Publicity is the spreading of information to gain public awareness for a product, person, service, cause or organization, and can be seen as a result of effective PR planning. Wikibooks has more about this subject: Marketing Look up publicity in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...

Audience targeting

A fundamental technique used in public relations is to identify the target audience, and to tailor every message to appeal to that audience. It can be a general, nationwide or worldwide audience, but it is more often a segment of a population. Marketers often refer to economy-driven "demographics," such as "white males 18-49," but in public relations an audience is more fluid, being whoever someone wants to reach. For example, recent political audiences include "soccer moms" and "NASCAR dads." There is also a psychographic grouping based on fitness level, eating preferences, "adrenaline junkies,"etc... Demographics refers to selected population characteristics as used in government, marketing or opinion research, or the demographic profiles used in such research. ... In North American social, cultural and political discourse, soccer mom (and less used soccer dad for the male equivalent) refers broadly to a demographic group of middle- or upper-middle class women with school-age children. ... Former NASCAR driver Richard Petty with U.S. President George W. Bush at the Victory Junction Gang Camp. ...

In addition to audiences, there are usually stakeholders, literally people who have a "stake" in a given issue. All audiences are stakeholders (or presumptive stakeholders), but not all stakeholders are audiences. For example, a charity commissions a PR agency to create an advertising campaign to raise money to find a cure for a disease. The charity and the people with the disease are stakeholders, but the audience is anyone who is likely to donate money. A corporate stakeholder is a party who affects, or can be affected by, the companys actions. ...

Sometimes the interests of differing audiences and stakeholders common to a PR effort necessitate the creation of several distinct but still complementary messages. This is not always easy to do, and sometimes – especially in politics – a spokesperson or client says something to one audience that angers another audience or group of stakeholders.

Lobby groups

Lobby groups are established to influence government policy, corporate policy, or public opinion. These groups claim to represent a particular interest. When a lobby group hides its true purpose and support base it is known as a front group. Lobbying is the practice of private advocacy with the goal of influencing a governing body, in order to ensure that an individuals or organizations point of view is represented in the government. ... A front organization, also known as a front group (if it is structured to look like a voluntary association) or a front company or simply a front (if it is structured to look like a company), is any entity set up by and controlled by another organization. ...


In public relations, spin is sometimes a pejorative term signifying a heavily biased portrayal in one's own favour of an event or situation. While traditional public relations may also rely on creative presentation of the facts, "spin" often, though not always, implies disingenuous, deceptive and/or highly manipulative tactics. Politicians are often accused of spin by commentators and political opponents, when they produce a counter argument or position. In the modern world, most PR practitioners are discouraged to use spin because it is fundamentally counterproductive to the industry's ultimate goal of building relationships with constituents. It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with pejoration. ... The examples and perspective in this article or section may not represent a worldwide view. ...

The techniques of "spin" include Selectively presenting facts and quotes that support one's position (cherry picking), the so-called "non-denial denial," Phrasing in a way that assumes unproven truths, euphemisms for drawing attention away from items considered distasteful, and ambiguity in public statements. Another spin technique involves careful choice of timing in the release of certain news so it can take advantage of prominent events in the news. A famous reference to this practice occurred when British Government press officer Jo Moore used the phrase It's now a very good day to get out anything we want to bury, (widely paraphrased or misquoted as "It's a good day to bury bad news"), in an email sent on September 11, 2001. The furor caused when this email was reported in the press eventually caused her to resign. // In the literal case of harvesting cherries, or any other fruit, the picker would be expected to only select the ripest and healthiest fruits. ... Non-denial denial is a term for a particular kind of equivocation; specifically, an apparent denial that appears to be direct, clearcut and unambiguous when heard, but on further examination is not a denial at all. ... A euphemism is the substitution of an agreeable or less offensive expression in place of one that may offend or suggest something unpleasant to the listener;[1] or in the case of doublespeak, to make it less troublesome for the speaker. ... Jo Moore (born 1963) served as a British political advisor and press officer, and was embroiled in scandal while working as advisor to the Transport, Local Government and Regions Secretary Stephen Byers. ... Look up Paraphrase in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... A misquotation is an accidental or intentional misrepresentation of a persons speech or writing, involving one or more of: Omission of important context: The context can be important for determining the overall argument the quoted person wanted to make, for seeing whether the quoted statement was restricted or even... A sequential look at United Flight 175 crashing into the south tower of the World Trade Center The September 11, 2001 attacks (often referred to as 9/11—pronounced nine eleven or nine one one) consisted of a series of coordinated terrorist[1] suicide attacks upon the United States, predominantly... This article is about the year. ...

Spin doctor

Skilled practitioners of spin are sometimes called "spin doctors", though probably not to their faces unless it is said facetiously. It is the PR equivalent of calling a writer a "hack". Perhaps the most well-known person in the UK often described as a "spin doctor" is Alastair Campbell, who was involved with Tony Blair's public relations between 1994 and 2003, and also played a controversial role as press relations officer to the British and Irish Lions rugby union side during their 2005 tour of New Zealand. Hack writer is a colloquial, usually pejorative, term used to refer to a writer who is paid to write low-quality, quickly put-together articles or books to order, often with a short deadline. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... For other people of the same name, see Tony Blair (disambiguation) Anthony Charles Lynton Blair (born May 6, 1953)[1] is the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, Leader of the Labour Party, and Member of Parliament for the constituency... First match Otago 3 - 8 Great Britain (28 April 1888) Largest win Manawatu 6 - 109 British & Irish Lions (28 June 2005) Worst defeat New Zealand 38 - 6 Lions (16 July 1983) The British and Irish Lions (until 2001 known as the British Isles Rugby Union Team or more colloquially the... For other uses, see Rugby (disambiguation). ... The 2005 Lions tour logo In 2005 the British and Irish Lions Rugby union team toured New Zealand for the first time since 1993, suffering a 3-0 whitewash at the hands of the New Zealand All Blacks. ...

State-run media in many countries also engage in spin by selectively allowing news stories that are favorable to the government while censoring anything that could be considered critical. They may also use propaganda to indoctrinate or actively influence citizens' opinions. 1967 Chinese propaganda poster from the Cultural Revolution. ... Indoctrination is the process of inculcating ideas, attitudes, cognitive strategies or a professional methodology. ...


  • Publicity events, pseudo-events, photo ops or publicity stunts
  • The talk show circuit. A PR spokesperson (or his/her client) "does the circuit" by being interviewed on television and radio talk shows with audiences that the client wishes to reach.
  • Books and other writings
  • After a PR practitioner has been working in the field for a while, he or she accumulates a list of contacts in the media and elsewhere in the public affairs sphere. This "Rolodex" becomes a prized asset, and job announcements sometimes even ask for candidates with an existing Rolodex, especially those in the media relations area of PR.
  • Direct communication (carrying messages directly to constituents, rather than through the mass media) with, e.g., newsletters – in print and e-letters.
  • Collateral literature, traditionally in print and now predominantly as web sites.
  • Speeches to constituent groups and professional organizations; receptions; seminars, and other events; personal appearances.
  • The slang term for a PR practitioner or publicist is a "flak" (sometimes spelled "flack").

A pseudo-event is an event or activity that exists for the sole purpose of garnering media publicity and serves little to no other function in real life. ... A photo op, short for photo opportunity, is a carefully planned human event that results in a memorable and effective photograph. ... The media itself often stage stunts for movies and television shows. ... A talk show (U.S.) or chat show (Brit. ... A Rolodex file used in the 1970s. ... Collateral could mean: Collateral in finance means a security or guarantee (usually an asset) pledged for the repayment of a loan if one cannot procure enough funds to repay. ...

Politics and civil society

Defining the opponent

A tactic used in political campaigns is known as "defining one's opponent". Opponents can be candidates, organizations and other groups of people.

In the 2004 US presidential campaign, George W. Bush defined John Kerry as a "flip-flopper," among other characterizations, which were widely reported and repeated by the media, particularly the conservative media. Similarly, George H.W. Bush characterized Michael Dukakis as weak on crime (the Willie Horton ad) and as hopelessly liberal ("a card-carrying member of the ACLU"). In 1996, President Bill Clinton seized upon opponent Bob Dole's promise to take America back to a simpler time, promising in contrast to "build a bridge to the 21st century." This painted Dole as a person who was somehow opposed to progress. Presidential election results map. ... George Walker Bush (born July 6, 1946) is the forty-third and current President of the United States of America, originally inaugurated on January 20, 2001. ... John Forbes Kerry (born December 11, 1943) is the junior United States Senator from Massachusetts, in his fourth term of office. ... Order: 41st President Vice President: Dan Quayle Term of office: January 20, 1989 – January 20, 1993 Preceded by: Ronald Reagan Succeeded by: Bill Clinton Date of birth: June 12, 1924 Place of birth: Milton, Massachusetts First Lady: Barbara Pierce Bush Political party: Republican George Herbert Walker Bush, KBE (born June... Michael Stanley Dukakis (born November 3, 1933) is an American Democratic politician, former Governor of Massachusetts, and the Democratic presidential nominee in 1988. ... Willie Hortons mugshot on the Weekend Passes ad William R. Horton (born August 12, 1951 in Chesterfield, South Carolina) is a convicted felon who was the subject of a Massachusetts weekend furlough program that released him while serving a life sentence for murder, without the possibility of parole, providing... The American Civil Liberties Union, or ACLU, is a non_governmental organization devoted to defending civil rights and civil liberties in the United States. ... William Jefferson Bill Clinton (born William Jefferson Blythe III[1] on August 19, 1946) was the 42nd President of the United States, serving from 1993 to 2001. ... § Robert Joseph Dole (born July 22, 1923) was a United States Senator from Kansas from 1969-1996, serving part of that time as United States Senate Majority Leader. ...

In the debate over abortion, self-titled pro-choice groups, by virtue of their name, defined their opponents as "anti-choice", while self-titled pro-life groups refer to their opponents as "pro-abortion" or "anti-life". Issues of discussion Pro-choice describes the political and ethical view that a woman should have complete control over her fertility and pregnancy. ... This article is about the social movement. ...

Managing language

If a politician or organization can use an apt phrase in relation to an issue, such as in interviews or news releases, the news media will often repeat it verbatim, without questioning the aptness of the phrase. This perpetuates both the message and whatever preconceptions might underlie it. Often, something innocuous sounding can stand in for something greater; a "culture of life" sounds like general goodwill to most people, but will evoke opposition to abortion for many pro-life advocates. "States' rights" was used as code words for anti-civil rights legislation in the United States in the 1960s, 70s, and 80s. The phrase culture of life is a rhetorical term arising from Roman Catholic doctrine, used frequently by Republicans in United States politics. ... Civil rights or positive rights are those legal rights retained by citizens and protected by the government. ...

Front groups

Many of the techniques used by PR firms are drawn from the institutions and practices of democracy itself.[citation needed] Persuasion, advocacy, and education are instruments through which individuals and organizations are entitled to express themselves in a free society, and many public relations practitioners are engaged in practices that are widely considered as beneficial, such as publicizing scientific research, promoting charities, raising awareness of public health concerns and other issues in civil society. The Politics series Politics Portal This box:      Civil society is composed of the totality of voluntary civic and social organizations and institutions that form the basis of a functioning society as opposed to the force-backed structures of a state (regardless of that states political system) and commercial institutions. ...

One of the most controversial practices in public relations is the use of front groups—organizations that purport to serve a public cause while actually serving the interests of a client whose sponsorship may be obscured or concealed. The creation of front groups is an example of what PR practitioners sometimes term the third party technique—the art of "putting your words in someone else's mouth." PR Watch, a non-profit organization that monitors PR activities it considers to be deceptive, has published numerous examples of this technique in practice. Critics of the public relations industry, such as PR Watch, have contended that Public Relations involves a "multi-billion dollar propaganda-for-hire industry" that "concoct[s] and spin[s] the news, organize[s] phoney 'grassroots' front groups, sp[ies] on citizens, and conspire[s] with lobbyists and politicians to thwart democracy." [1]. A front organization, also known as a front group (if it is structured to look like a voluntary association) or a front company or simply a front (if it is structured to look like a company), is any entity set up by and controlled by another organization. ... Third party technique is a marketing strategy commonly employed by Public Relations (PR) firms, that involves placing a premeditated message in the mouth of the media. ... PR Watch is a quarterly newsletter whose stated mission is to expose deceptive and misleading public relations campaigns. ...

Instances of the use of front groups as a PR technique have been documented in many industries. Coal mining corporations have created environmental groups that contend that increased CO2 emissions and global warming will contribute to plant growth and will be beneficial, trade groups for bars have created and funded citizens' groups to attack anti-alcohol groups, tobacco companies have created and funded citizens' groups to advocate for tort reform and to attack personal injury lawyers, while trial lawyers have created "consumer advocacy" front groups to oppose tort reform.[2][3][4] Global warming refers to the increase in the average temperature of the Earths near-surface air and oceans in recent decades and its projected continuation. ... Tort reform is the phrase used by its advocates who claim it is a change in the legal system to reduce litigations alleged adverse effects on the economy. ...


  • 1. Grunig, James E. and Hunt, Todd. Managing Public Relations. (Orlando, FL: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1984), 6.
  • 2. Camden County College Web Site, http://faculty.camdencc.edu/abreve/prhistory/home/def1.htm
  • 3. From the Public Relations Society of America Web site, http://prsa.org/pressroom/aboutpr.htm. 2001.
  • 4. Encyclopedia of public relations by Robert L. Heath, 2005 http://newarrivals.nlb.gov.sg/itemdetail.aspx?bid=12303638
  • 5. Careers in Advertising and Public Relations 2006 WetFeet Insider Guide


  1. ^ Levy, Stuart (2007) Public Relations and Integrated Communications, Lotus Press
  2. ^ Levy, Stuart (2007) Public Relations and Integrated Communications, Lotus Press
  3. ^ Levy, Stuart (2007) Public Relations and Integrated Communications, Lotus Press
  • Bernays, Edward (1945). Public Relations. Boston, MA: Bellman Publishing Company. 
  • Burson, Harold (2004). E pluribus unum: The Making of Burson-Marsteller. New York: Burson-Marsteller. 
  • Calcagni, Thomas (2007). Tough Questions, Good Answers, Taking Control of Any Interview. Sterling, VA: Capital Books, Inc.. ISBN 978-1-933102-50-4. 
  • Caponigro, Jeff (2000). THE CRISIS COUNSELOR: A step-by-step guide to managing a business crisis. New York: McGraw-Hill/ Contemporary Books. ISBN 0-9659606-0-9. 
  • Cutlip, Scott (1994). The Unseen Power: Public Relations, A History. Hillsdale, N.J.: Erlbaum Associates. ISBN 0-8058-1464-7. 
  • Ewen, Stuart (1996). PR!: A Social History of Spin. New York: Basic Books. ISBN 0-465-06168-0. 
  • Forman, Amanda (2001). Georgiana Duchess of Devonshire. New York: Random House USA Inc; New Ed edition. ISBN 0-037-5753834-0. 
  • Grunig, James E.; and Todd Hunt (1984). Managing Public Relations. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston. ISBN 0-03-058337-3. 
  • Hall, Phil (2007). The New PR. Mount Kisco, NY: Larstan Publishing. ISBN 0-9789182-0-7. 
  • International Association of Business Communicators (IABC)
  • Macnamara, Jim (2005). Jim Macnamara's Public Relations Handbook, 5th ed., Melbourne: Archipelago Press. ISBN 0-9587537-4-1. 
  • Nelson, Joyce (1989). Sultans of Sleaze: Public Relations and the Media. Toronto: Between The Lines. ISBN 0-921284-22-5. 
  • Phillips, David (2001). Online Public Relations. London: Kogan Page. ISBN 0-7494-3510-0. 
  • Seitel, Fraser. The Practice of Public Relations. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: 10 ed. 2006 ISBN-10: 0132304511
  • Stauber, John C.; and Sheldon Rampton (1995). Toxic Sludge is Good for You: Lies, Damn Lies, and the Public Relations Industry. Monroe, ME: Common Courage Press. ISBN 1-56751-061-2. 
  • Tye, Larry (1998). The Father of Spin: Edward L. Bernays & the Birth of Public Relations. New York: Crown Publishers. ISBN 0-517-70435-8. 
  • Tymson, Candy; and Peter Lazar (2006). Public Relations Manual. Sydney: Tymson Communications. ISBN 0-9579130-1-X. 
  • Stoykov, Lubomir; and Valeria Pacheva (2005). Public Relations and Business Communication. Sofia: Ot Igla Do Konetz. ISBN 954-9799-09-3. 
  1. Scott M. Cutlip/ Allen H. Center/ Glen M. Broom, "Effective Public Relations," 7th Ed., Prentice-Hall, Inc. A Simon and Schuster Company, Englewood Cliffs, N.J. 07632, 1994, Figure 10-1
  2. Center, Allen H. and Jackson, Patrick, "Public Relations Practices," 5th ed., Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle, N.J., 1995, pp. 14-15
  3. Crifasi, Sheila C., "Everything's Coming Up Rosie," from Public Relations Tactics, September, 2000, Vol. 7, Issue 9, Public Relations Society of America, New York, 2000.
  4. Kelly, Kathleen S., "Effective Fund Raising Management," Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Mahwah, N.J., 1998
  5. Wilcox, D.L., Ault, P.H., Agee, W.K., & Cameron, G., "Public Relations Strategies and Tactics," 7th ed., Allyn & Bacon, Boston, MA, 2002
  6. Grunig, James E. and Hunt, Todd. Managing Public Relations. (Orlando, FL: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1984), 6.

James E. Grunig is a noted public relations theorist. ... Lubomir Stoykov (Bulgarian: Любомир Стойков), is a famous bulgarian fashion journalist. ...

See also

The Chief Communications Officer or CCO is a job title for the head of communications, public relations and/or public affairs within an organization. ... Next big thing redirects here. ... // Advert redirects here. ... Wikibooks has more about this subject: Marketing Scale model of a Wheaties cereal box at a pep rally Promotion is one of the four key aspects of the marketing mix. ... Wikibooks has more about this subject: Marketing Look up publicity in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... The examples and perspective in this article or section may not represent a worldwide view. ... 1967 Chinese propaganda poster from the Cultural Revolution. ... The bandwagon effect, also known as social proof and closely related to opportunism, is the observation that people often do (or believe) things because many other people do (or believe) the same. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... A code word is a word or a phrase designed to evoke a predetermined meaning to certain listeners while disguising the speakers true meaning by allowing them to use a word that sounds much more acceptable to an average listener. ... Dog-whistle politics is a term used to describe a type of political campaigning which is only heard by a specific intended audience. ... Doublespeak (sometimes double talk) is language constructed to disguise or distort its actual meaning, often resulting in a communication bypass. ... In media studies, sociology and psychology, framing is a process of selective control over the individuals perception of the meanings attributed to words or phrases. ... Glittering generalities are emotionally appealing words so closely associated with highly valued concepts and beliefs that they carry conviction without supporting information or reason. ... Lesser of Two Evils redirects here. ... Loaded words are words or phrases which have strong emotional overtones or connotations and which evoke strongly positive (or negative) reactions far beyond the specific meaning of the word which is listed in the dictionary. ... Newspeak is a fictional language in George Orwells novel Nineteen Eighty-Four. ... Plain Folks is one of the seven forms of propaganda. ... A weasel word is a word intended to soften the force of a statement and/or make an assertion as though one is just conveying some others opinion. ...

Further reading

  • Bernays, Edward, L. (1972) Propaganda. Port Washington, N.Y.: Kennikat Press. (Originally published, 1928.)
  • Boorstin, Daniel J. (1972) The Image: A Guide to Pseudo-Events in America. New York: Atheneum.
  • Ewen, Stuart. (1996) PR! A Social History of Spin. New York: BasicBooks.
  • Hall, Phil. (2007) The New PR. Mount Kisco, N.Y.: Larstan Publishing.
  • Seib, Patrick and Fitzpatrick, Kathy. (1995) Public Relations Ethics. Fort Worth: Harcourt Brace and Company.

External links

  • Public Relations on Open Directory, a page with links to many PR websites
  • Public Relations Glossary, a glossary of public relations terms and organizations.
About the industry
Watchdogs and critics
  • SourceWatch.org Provides background on PR agencies and practitioners. Focuses mostly on conservative and right-wing PR
  • PR Watch, critiques deceptive PR campaigns
  • Spinwatch, a page which monitors public relations and propaganda
  • CorporateWatch, a critical overview of the public relations and lobbying industry
  • Annenberg Political Fact Check A nonpartisan, nonprofit consumer advocate which monitors the factual accuracy of statements by political players

www.wekipidia.com The Open Directory Project (ODP), also known as dmoz (from , its original domain name), is a multilingual open content directory of World Wide Web links owned by Netscape that is constructed and maintained by a community of volunteer editors. ...

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