The history of public relations is mostly confined to the early half of the twentieth century; however there is evidence of the practices scattered through history. One notable practitioner was Georgiana Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire whose efforts on behalf of Charles James Fox in the 18th century included press relations, lobbying and, with her friends, celebrity campaigning. A number of American precursors to public relations are found in the form of publicists who specialized in promoting circuses, theatrical performances, and other public spectacles. In the United States, where public relations has its origins, many early public relations practices were developed in support of railroads. In fact, many scholars believe that the first appearance of the term "public relations" appeared in the 1897 Year Book of Railway Literature. Later, practitioners were — and are still often — recruited from the ranks of journalism. Some reporters concerned with ethics criticize former colleagues for using their inside understanding of news media to help clients receive favorable media coverage. Some historians regard Ivy Lee as the first real practitioner of public relations, but Edward Bernays, a nephew and student of Sigmund Freud, is generally regarded today as the profession's founder. In the United Kingdom Sir Basil Clarke (1879–1947) was a pioneer of public relations. The First World War helped stimulate the development of public relations as a profession. Many of the first PR professionals, including Ivy Lee, Edward Bernays,John W. Hill, and Carl Byoir, got their start with the Committee on Public Information (also known as the Creel Committee), which organized publicity on behalf of U.S. objectives during World War I. In describing the origin of the term Public Relations, Bernays commented, "When I came back to the United States [from the war], I decided that if you could use propaganda for war, you could certainly use it for peace. And propaganda got to be a bad word because of the Germans ... using it. So what I did was to try to find some other words, so we found the words Counsel on Public Relations". Ivy Lee, who has been credited with developing the modern news release (also called a "press release"), espoused a philosophy consistent with what has sometimes been called the "two-way street" approach to public relations in which PR consists of helping clients listen as well as communicate messages to their publics. In the words of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), "Public relations helps an organization and its publics adapt mutually to each other." In practice, however, Lee often engaged in one-way propagandizing on behalf of clients despised by the public, including Standard Oil founder John D. Rockefeller. Shortly before his death, the US Congress had been investigating Rockefeller's work on behalf of the controversial Nazi German company IG Farben. Bernays was the profession's first theorist. Bernays drew many of his ideas from Sigmund Freud's theories about the irrational, unconscious motives that shape human behaviour. Bernays authored several books, including Crystallizing Public Opinion (1923), Propaganda (1928), and The Engineering of Consent (1947). He saw public relations as an "applied social science" that uses insights from psychology, sociology, and other disciplines to scientifically manage and manipulate the thinking and behavior of an irrational and "herdlike" public. "The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society," he wrote in Propaganda, "Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. One of Bernays' early clients was the tobacco industry. In 1929, he orchestrated a now-legendary publicity stunt aimed at persuading women to take upcigarette smoking, an act that at the time was exclusively equated with...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document