August 17, 2008
By Mohammed Khelef
Dictionary.com describes Public Relations as the art, technique or profession of promoting such goodwill that is exactly what a public relations office (PRO) does. It is the office that specializes in promoting news.
The term Public Relations was first used by the US President Thomas Jefferson during his address to Congress in 1807 (in this use, however, the intended meaning seems to be closer to “policy” than the implication of communications central to the contemporary definition).
One of the earliest definitions of PR was created by Edward Bernays. In his book, History of Public Relations, he says that, “Public Relations is 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.”
Today, Public Relations is defined as 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).
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 Organizational Development” which lists a range of academics and practitioners who support this view. So it is for the benefit of academics that we have PRO in our universities.
As said in one article about PR in the wikipedia.org, modern Public Relations evaluates a product or individuals public perception through market research. Once data is collected and challenges are identified,
Bibliography: Gamble, M & T. K., Communication Works (1999), McGraw-Hill College, New York, USA. Heath, R. L., Encyclopedia of Public Relations (2001), McMillan & Co. UK Lucas, S Cruisus, T. M. & Channell, C. E., The Aims of Argument (2003), McGraw-Hill, New York, USA. Payne, J., Applications Communication for Personal and Professional Contexts (2001), Clark Publishing, Inc., Chicago, USA. Kothari, C. R., Research Methodology: Methods and Techniques (2000), Daryagan, New Delhi, India. Gondwe, G., Notes on Public Relations (presented to TUDarCO Mass Communication Students on March 2007), Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Bernays, E., History of Public Relations (1987), Longman Press, UK http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_relations