public relations

Public Relations

Public relations is the process used by businesses or organizations to present the most favorable image for them to the public. It is the responsibility for public relations professionals to provide carefully crafted information to the target audience about the individual, its goals and accomplishments, and any thing else that may be of public interest. The public relations professional also helps integrate its client’s image in its business strategies and daily actions. Public relations is practiced by a department in a company, an organization, or as a public relations professional firm. It serves to shape the best market perception. It helps sell a product, service or an idea.
A young reporter named Ivy Ledbetter Lee was the first public relations counsel. He was a public relations representative for a large coal mine operator just before World War II. He convinced the miners to give feedback to reporters to enforce positive opinions over the negative public reactions to the coal business. Public relations really began to take hold during WWII. The rapid advancement of communication led to an increase of much needed awareness of the War. Manufacturing firms began to enlist the aid of public relations professionals to bring new public relations business approaches in front of the public.
Today public relations professionals help position a product, service or an idea in the business and consumer world. Companies use its techniques to launch new products and lessen the effects of a crisis. Politicians craft their messages with the help of public relations specialists. Indeed the current widespread use of public relations is causing a crisis in this public relations profession. “The future is indeed bright for the field of public relations. But there is one major qualification - having enough trained people to meet the expanding demand for public relations services and counsel.” (Kerr)
Less than 10 percent of public relations professionals do not go to college. According to Kerr:
Some new Public Relations professions are being born; others are becoming more Public Relations professional, for example, business administration and social work. The university becomes the chief port of entry for these Public Relations professions. In fact, a Public Relations profession gains its identity by making the university the port of entry.
The majors most preferred by public relations managers are Public Relations, English, and Journalism. Recruiters look for entry level candidates who have a strong background in traditional liberal arts and social science education. An understanding of computers and the Internet are also required. Students looking toward the public relations field are also encouraged to minor or major in the field they feel they are going to pursue as a career such as science or psychology. In the 1990’s more than 150 colleges and 35-graduate schools offered Public Relations degrees. Three hundred other colleges in the country offer at least one course in this field. There are an increasing number of masters and doctoral level degree Public Relations programs.
Once working in this field, public relations professionals are encouraged to become certified. Certification requires passing an examination from the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA). PRSA demands public relations practical and ideal knowledge. After several years working in public relations, a mentor counsels the employee and assists in the passage of this exam. Once certified, public relations professionals have the credibility to assume more responsibility in their organizations. This translates into higher pay and increased job satisfaction. Certification helps ensure that public relations professionals have the necessary skills and experience to guide their clients or companies in an increasingly fast paced world driven by information.
“There is no clear-cut formula for finding a job in public relations.” (Public Relations, Jobs, 256) A high grade point average helps. But, personality plays a big role. The most successful public relations professionals lean towards an outgoing personality. It is important that job candidates present themselves well and are comfortable in public speaking or presentations. Having experience in a school newspaper can be important. Many times recruiters will ask to see examples of a job candidate’s written work or have the candidate give a presentation. The ability to communicate precisely is a highly valued attribute. Also, many companies have internships. This is the easiest way to find the first job in public relations.
In the early 1990’s a salary