The public relations field offers diverse opportunities for career paths. Public relations can meet the career goals of varying individual’s preferences and interests. Several specific areas for public relations include events and promotion, global, corporate, entertainment, sports, tourism, government, politics, non-profit, health, education, and media. With such variety of fields involving public relations it creates an opportunity to specialize or diversify in a career path. When many organizations have a division of labor or tasks those in public relations see more of an integration of duties.
Having integration of duties can be an advantage for collaboration on decision-making but make be overwhelming for an individual to have many projects for clients. From The Princeton Review website is states, “A public relations specialist is an image shaper. Their job is to generate positive publicity for their client and enhance their reputation. The client can be a company, an individual or a government.” In this career there are certain expectations and skills to complete this job even in specific areas. “The successful PR person must be a good communicator-in print, in person and on the phone. They cultivate and maintain contacts with journalists, set up speaking engagements, write executive speeches and annual reports, respond to inquiries and speak directly to the press on behalf of their client. They must keep lines of communication open between the many groups affected by a company’s product and policies: consumers, shareholders, employees, and the managing body,” (The Princeton Review, 2014). A career in public relations involves contact with many people and it is important to know how to overcome barrier in communication.
Bringing the right attitude is just as important when working in public relations to have open channels of communication. According to College Grad website, “People who choose public relations as a career need an outgoing personality, self-confidence, an understanding of human psychology, and an enthusiasm for motivating people. They should be competitive, yet flexible, and able to function as part of a team,” (College Grad, 2014). Having a public relations career can be a time consuming commitment and can affect personal lifestyle. In the article, “Toward a Theory of Public Relations Practitioners’ Own Conflict: Work Versus Life,” examines using a quantitative study based upon a sample of Public Relations Society of America members the theory of public relations work-life conflict. The article states, “Results of the study found that a more family-supportive organizational work environment, overall, would minimize practitioners’ reported work–life conflict. Significant gender differences existed in strain-based conflict perceived by practitioners. Finally,female practitioners whose career was interrupted earned significantly more than those whose career was not,” (Jiang, H., & Shen, H., 2013).
College Grad (2014). Public Relation Specialists. Retrieved from http://www.collegegrad.com/career/careerinpublicrelations.shtml
Jiang, H., & Shen, H. (2013). Toward a theory of public relations practitioners’ own conflict: work versus life. Journal Of Public Relations Research, 25(3), 259-279. doi:10.1080/1062726X.2013.788446
The Princeton Review (2014). Career: Public Relations. Retrieved from http://www.princetonreview.com/Careers.aspx?cid=171
Encountering a crisis in public relations shows the true worth of an organization and preparation is key. According to David Weiner, “As the ultimate unplanned activity, a crisis does not lend itself to conventional “command and control” management practices. In fact, some of the techniques for managing a crisis may fly in the face of conventional notions of planning, testing and execution. Preparation and sound judgment are critical for survival,” (2006). The article by Wiener, “Crisis Communications: Managing Corporate Reputation in the Court of Public Opinion explains steps to manage a crisis from prevention, management, and recovery. “Since the Tylenol crisis of the 1980s (unknown parties tampered with bottles of the product), the concept of crisis management has become a specialized activity in the domains of communications and public relations. Companies have come to recognize crisis communications capabilities as a vital part of their risk management and business continuity strategies,”(Weiner, D., 2006). The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has come up with a national public service advertising (PSA) campaign named Ready to include a crisis communications plan when there is a natural disaster.
The Ready website states, “An important component of the preparedness program is the crisis communications plan. A business must be able to respond promptly, accurately and confidently during an emergency in the hours and days that follow. Many different audiences must be reached with information specific to their interests and needs. The image of the business can be positively or negatively impacted by public perceptions of the handling of the incident.” This can be evident in other crises that a business may encounter and alter the relationship with their consumer. “Understanding the audiences that a business needs to reach during an emergency is one of the first steps in the development of a crisis communications plan. There are many potential audiences that will want information during and following an incident and each has its own needs for information. The challenge is to identify potential audiences, determine their need for information and then identify who within the business is best able to communicate with that audience, (FEMA, 2012). Another aspect is the cultural influences on a crisis and the impact diversity can have. “Participants had difficulties defining multiculturalism, yet acknowledged that cultural expectations affect audiences’ perceptions of corporations and crises. They also emphasized that gender, religion, and disability issues, as well as generational and educational gaps, are some other relevant factors influencing corporate discourse. The importance ascribed by practitioners to culture during crises varied significantly. For some, addressing cultural diversity is a valuable corporate asset; for others, the relevance of culture in communication strategies is overemphasized.
Fatima Oliveira, M. (2013). Multicultural environments and their challenges to crisis communication. Journal Of Business Communication, 50(3), 253-277. doi:10.1177/0021943613487070
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) (2012, November 5). Crisis Communications Plan. Retrieved from http://www.ready.gov/business/implementation/crisis
Weiner, D. (2006, April). CRISIS COMMUNICATIONS: MANAGING CORPORATE REPUTATION IN THE COURT OF PUBLIC OPINION. Retrieved from http://iveybusinessjournal.com/topics/the-workplace/crisis-communications-managing-corporate-reputation-in-the-court-of-public-opinion
When working in public relations an individual’s personal and professional ethics can be combatting forces. What may be considered morally competent for someone personally may not align with the social responsibility of their profession or the situation reversed. In the article “PR Ethics and Reputation: PR Professionals Are Not “Yes Men” When Pressured to Be Unethical, New Baylor Study Finds” reports how a study was done on the strained relationship between personal and professional ethics. “Researchers did in-depth interviews with senior public relations professionals in the United States and Australia, with an average of 27 years of experience. All but three had served as the chief public relations officers in their organizations, which included corporations, nonprofit organizations and government entities; and two of those also provided counsel in their roles in PR agencies for their clients as external counselors,” (Daily Dog, 2013). What the study provided was how individuals in these positions were at lost for with their personal ethics in a professional environment.
As is stated from the Daily Dog, “Speaking up on sensitive ethical issues required courage, study participants said. A few were fired or demoted for refusing to do something that was blatantly unethical; two resigned when their advice was rejected, including one who refused to include false information in a press release,” (2013). This calls into question the social responsibility of companies to their employees and pressure to cross ethics lines. What are put on the line are a public relations professional’s credibility and a limiting factor for their position being views of the role of public relations.
The role being public relations is just an extension of a marketing department. This is further examined in the study, “About “the End of Public Relations” and the Integrated Model of PR,” by Sandu Franza “They are mostly concerned with the fact that public relations have not succeeded in becoming a separate domain able to enjoin itself among other domains. According to these critiques, public relations are meant to be swallowed either by marketing, or by other sub-domains of communication sciences. Thus we are induced the idea of an “end of public relations,” (Franza, S., 2009). This study describes a new integrative approach in a globalized world for the continued growth of public relations role with ethics as a main
Component. “The ability to engage in ethical reasoning in public relations is growing in demand, in responsibility, and in importance. Academic research, university and continuing education, and professional practice are all attending more than ever to matters of ethics. The public relations function stands at a critical and defining juncture: whether to become an ethics counselor to top management or to remain outside the realm of the strategic decision making core. How we choose to respond to the crisis of trust among our publics will define the public relations of the future,” (Bowen, S., 2001).
Bowen, S. A. (2001, October 30). Ethics and Public Relations – Institute for Public Relations. Retrieved from http://www.instituteforpr.org/topics/ethics-and-public-relations/
Daily Dog (2013, January 17). PR Ethics and Reputation: PR Professionals Are Not “Yes Men” When Pressured to Be Unethical, New Baylor Study Finds. Retrieved from http://www.bulldogreporter.com/dailydog/article/pr-ethics-and-reputation-pr-professionals-are-not-yes-men-when-pressured-be-unethic
Frunza, S. (2009). About “the End of Public Relations” and the Integrated Model of PR. Journal Of Media Research, (5), 3-16.
The reasoning for research in PR is the general idea of what it can provide. This is to help weigh the risks in any campaign plan. Symes states (n.d.), “Research, when conducted properly, eliminates bias and gives the leaders of a company a realistic picture of how various members of the public perceive the organization. When throu research it can be learned how different individuals percieve something specifically it helps to make a target. The target can help to support or refine the goal in campaign.
There are other benefits to completing research. “Solid research findings make two crucial statements about your organization. First, you listen to your customers, actual and potential. Second, you are a demonstrable thought-leader who can provide your own expert take on the results, ” (Ross, 2010). For most companies the most crucial part is the customer. In a competitive market it is valuing what the customer wants and needs.
Completing research gives the benefit of the researcher of becoming an expert. Another asset is knowing how to complete the research. A new medium for research is the use of the internet. “Enough evidence is available to support the idea that public relations professionals must possess search engine optimization (SEO) skills to assist clients in a full-service capacity,” (Moody, 2013, p. 166).
Moody, M., & Bates, E. (2013). Pr students’ perceptions and readiness for using search engine optimization. Journalism & Mass Communication Educator, 68(2), 166-180. doi:10.1177/1077695813478182
Symes, S. (n.d.). How is research important to strategic public relations plans? Demand Media. Retrieved from
Ross, R. (2010, January 4). The importance of research to success in pr. Mizu. Retrieved from
A relative case study I found interesting in researching the focus for this blog on diversity in public relations is what effect it could have on student learning. The case itself was for a study on an assignment given to students in a beginning public relations course. For students to learn about diversity by completing the assignment on two minority groups. According to Gallicano (2012), “The participants who completed the assignment had a better level of cultural understanding than participants who did not have the assignment,” (p.115). To get a better understanding of the concept of diversity can be achieved through application.
As those students in the PR class received understanding by using this outlet of blogs to express in words what diversity is in PR can be another learning tool. “Now, the technology that has been an alternative source of news to many academics is being incorporated more fully into university life,” ( Adenekan, 2005). This platform offers the contribution of other users input by being publicized on the internet. Alternatively of being on a social network that takes away and limits focus on what is being written. The diversity of insight by other readers and writers helps to offer other perceptions for the topic. Creating an opportunity to reach a more thorough understanding in this media format.
Varying methods for learning are being used to help students achieve. In PR varying methods are used to help communicate a message of a product or service. As the medium for communication enters into the electronic age business and education shift to follow suit. Tindall stated, “Although the effort has shifted and restructured, its mission remains the same: to promote a workforce that more closely mirrors the communities in which we live and work in terms of age, race, ethnicity, and gender. Our members understand that increasing diversity within the profession will be key to their organizations’ success in the year to come, as businesses continue to seek a more global perspective to their communications initiatives,” (2012, p. 1). Digital landscape is as diverse as the user and the goal is to make the relation.
Adenekan, S. (2005, January 23). BBC NEWS | UK | Education | Academics give lessons on blogs. Retrieved from http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/education/4194669.stm
Gallicano, T., & Stansberry, K. (2012). Assessment of a Diversity Assignment in a PR Principles Course. Communication Teacher,26(2), 115-128. doi:10.1080/17404622.2011.643811
Tindall, N. (2012, February 7). Diversity in the PR field: Some progress, though challenges persist | Articles | Home. Retrieved from http://www.prdaily.com/Main/Articles/Diversity_in_the_PR_field_Some_progress_though_cha_10753.aspx#
Starting from the beginning to learn about the world of public relations (PR) shows it to have its own specific makeup. The makeup can be seen to create the human interest in this field. My ideas of PR is what the field was limited to and not capable of. From the discussions during class PR is incorporated within many fields and has continued to evolve. A person practicing must have certain skills and abilities.
One ability is to be an effective communicator both verbally and non-verbally. To competently communicate by writing through different mediums. Having critical thinking skills and be creative. It is through utilizing these elements a person can be successful in the field of public relations.
The process in PR consists of four parts with the first step of evaluation. This was the first step in completion of the process with the campaign books in this class with having an informational meeting with the representative from Career Services. To evaluate what the program/department wants to accomplish. The next step is research to define the problems that persist. Third step of action is to make a plan to address the problems.
Fourth step is communication and is the planned program being put into motion. The acronym for this process in PR is RACE. Another step that is overlooked is after RACE to measure how successful the process was in meeting its goal. Having a way to understand the impact of the plan can be used in other processes of PR.
Other aspects involved for a PR professional is the focus they have is on defined publics. This is through using a variety of channels and communication tools. The purpose is to target specialized audencies and is concerned with building relationships and goodwill. Through integration of GRRIT the goal of PR professional is projected.