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How Do YOU Define PR?
By: Jeannine Wheeler
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With the advent of digital and social media, the definition of public relations has changed. And dramatically.

The first definition came about in the early 1900s when the "father" of public relations, Edward Louis Bernays, described the profession as “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."

Since then, the industry has moved on.

In August 1978, for example, 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.”

In 1982, the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) defined PR as "public relations helps an organization and its publics adapt mutually to each other."

Most recently, PRSA in 2011/2 developed a crowd-sourced definition of PR as "public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics."

We have to ask: How much does a PR in today’s world make?

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that in 2014, the median annual salary for public relations practitioners was $55,680. The top 10 percent in the field made around $105,720 and the bottom 10 percent made around $31,190.

No matter what we make, we have the interest of our clients, and the public, in mind when we adhere to the earliest and most recent PR definitions: to build mutually beneficially relationships — a particular skill of anyone interested in the profession today — or any day.


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About the Author
Jeannine Wheeler is a PR Director who has worked in three countries, including Russia, the US and the UK. She is currently Sr. Vice President of Pure Energy PR, a full-service boutique communications firm with a focus on the energy, healthcare, technology, construction, real estate & land development, tourism & hospitality and food & beverage industries. Jeannine is in the firm's Austin, Texas office.
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