What Public Relations Really Is
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What Public Relations Really Is

And no it's nothing like Scandal.

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What Public Relations Really Is

When I tell people that I'm majoring in public relations, the first thing they think of is publicists or spin artists. That's not exactly what public relations is and society's view on what it is has been strewed thanks to television and movies. There is more to PR than is being shown in the media.

Unethical Practice

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A lot of shows and movies portray public relations as this field that is so unethical it's almost illegal, but that's not true. PR professionals actually have a code of ethics from Public Relations Society of America or PRSA that we are meant to follow. It's all about honesty, advocacy, loyalty (to both your client and the public), expertise, independence, and fairness. PR professionals are meant to follow these in their day to day work. We also have our own laws we need to follow. We typically have to try to not get ourselves or clients in libel, slander, or defamation cases. There are so many different laws that we must learn and follow throughout our careers.

We're all Drunks

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Tv shows and movies love to portray PR people as lushes and people who are always drinking. Sure there is drinking involved at events and professional dinners we might be at, we won't necessarily get drunk, we'll have one drink to keep thing professional. Most of the time, if it's an event, we're so busy running around and making sure everything is perfect or talking to the media, that we don't have time to actually drink.

It's Just Publicity, Reporting, and Event Planning

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Sure part of PR is planning events for clients and also making sure they look good in the public eye while running their social media and writing press releases, that's not all we do, that is just one part of PR. That is called media relations which the name can speak for itself. There is also crisis communications (that has been popularized by Scandal though the portrayal isn't true), issues management (yes, issues and crisis are different, community relations, and internal and external communications. There is so much to PR that you don't necessarily see or know about.

HR and PR are the same

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Hr and Pr are in no way similar. HR is about having to be in charge of all office related issues as well as payroll and such. PR has nothing to do with that. Yes we will do some internal communications with people, we don't necessarily deal with things that HR does.

You Have to be Outgoing to be in PR

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There are a lot of introverts that are in the field. Just because someone might not necessarily be a big people person or a bit shy, doesn't mean they can't work with the public. Yes we need to be good public speakers but we can still be a more introverted person.

Men are better at "harder" PR

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PR is actually a predominantly female industry. Classes have become less and less diverse gender-wise, especially ones I have been in. Tv and movies like to show men in the more important roles like press secretaries for the president and women in publicity. It's just not true anymore, women have been almost taking over the industry.

It's an Easy Major

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While, sure, it might not be the hardest major, it's not the easy A major everyone seems to think it is. People think it's a joke major or pass with flying colors major, when in reality it's not that easy. I'm in my senior year and I've never been so stressed in my life. These classes are difficult because they're mostly application based and not test based. We have to be able to apply the things we learn to real life situations. All our projects tend to be about how we would handle a certain situation in the real world. Our capstone, while yes is a group project, is a 60 page research/survey/campaign plan project. It's only week 4 of this project and I know my group and I are stressed to the max about it, and we aren't even a 1/4th of the way done. This major is anything but easy.

One definition of PR is, "Public relations is the management function that establishes and maintains mutually beneficial relationships between an organization and the publics on whom its success or failure depends." But that is only one. There are so many different definitions of what public relations is that we even can get confused sometimes. The media has definitely skewed our perception of what pr really is.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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