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Public relations is the practice of managing the flow of information between an individual or an organization and the public. We use the term "Public Relations" in many ways to express our attitude towards our colleagues, customers, clients, the press and even society at large. But exactly how do we define public relations?

Ivy Lee, a spokesman for Standard Oil Company in the US is believed to be the founder of modern public relations. He used to say: "Tell the truth, because sooner or later the public will find out anyway. And if the public doesn't like what you are doing, change your policies and bring them into line with what people want" And then there was Edward Louis Bernays who established the first definition of public relations in the early 1900s and who was considered more cynical and manipulative of public speech and the power it exerted over the "masses".

Which of the following definitions would be the closest to your definition:


  • "a management function, which tabulates public attitudes, defines the policies, procedures, and interests of an organization... followed by executing a program of action to earn public understanding and acceptance."

In August 1978, the World Assembly of Public Relations Associations defined the field as


  • "the art and social science of analyzing trends, predicting their consequences, counseling organizational leaders, and implementing planned programs of action, which will serve both the organization and the public interest."[4]

The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) defined public relations in 1982 as:


  • "Public relations helps an organization and its publics adapt mutually to each other."[5]

In 2011 and 2012, the PRSA developed a crowd-sourced definition:


  • "Public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics."[6]

Public relations can also be defined simply as:

  •  "the practice of managing communication between an organization and its publics."

Watch the following video on Edward Bernays, considered the father of Public Relations.  While you watch answer the questions on the worksheet and discuss your answers with your instructor.
After watching the video, sing the 1939 hit tune "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" sung by Judy Garland by scrolling down to the bottom of the page
PUBLIC RELATIONS IN THE WORKPLACE
Below is a diagram of how a corporation can project positive publicity using public relations.  Does your company do the same? What's similar or different in what your organization does? Draw a similar diagram and discuss it with a partner.
What kind of consumer are you? Are you conscious of what you purchase? Read the article about "Mindful Buying" and answer the questions at the end and discuss your answers with a partner.
***jUST FOR FUN!!  ...LISTEN TO JUDY GARLAND SINGING "SOMEWHERE OVER THE RAINBOW" A HIT TUNE IN 1939 THE YEAR EDWARD BERNAYS STARTED APPLYING HIS THEORIES TO CONSUMERISM. DO YOU SEEN ANY LINK?