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What is PR? A college student’s perspective — Take III

Last week was the start of another semester of teaching Public Relations Writing and Campaign Tactics at the University of Minnesota SJMC.  And continuing my tradition, on the first day of class I ask the students (juniors and seniors on the Strategic Communication track)  to answer to the question “What is PR?”

I first asked this question with a group of freshman honor students in their Mass Comm 101 class a year ago and then with juniors/seniors last fall.  What I’ve found is a trend towards more enlightenment on what public relations is and isn’t.   My hope is that this trend of “understanding” continues.

The responses from this first day of class have me excited for the semester to get going and for the future of each of these young soon-to-be public relations professionals.

I believe that PR is a field where organizations/corporations want to make their image better to customers/audiences and to build a positive relationship with them.

Here are the student’s responses:

  • Public Relations deal with how the company is perceived by the general public. They take care of the company’s image.
  • Public Relations is a profession where people work to sell promote positively help a company or cause.
  • Public Relations is a profession that helps business and organizations communicate effectively with the public.
  • A message aimed at an audience with the attempt to influence.
  • Public Relations is the process of effective communication between different publics. The various public that exist in PR includes clients, media, government and employees within a company and interest holders.
  • Public Relations is the practice of maintaining and improving the public image of an organization using a variety of campaign tactics and media outlets.
  • Public Relations is managing effective, beneficial relationships between organizations and/or organizations to individuals. (organization ®publics)
  • PR is the bridging of the gap, usually through free mediums between a company and its consumers. Also, PR is the advising within a company to help control employee and management relations.
  • Strategically making a message. Helping that message reach a target audience/target market. Helping a company build positive relationships and images.
  • The representation of groups and/or organizations within various sectors, generally unpaid promotion of groups.
  • Non-paid promotion and relationship building/maintenance with a clients audience or potential audience.
  • Public Relations is building and maintaining mutually beneficial relationships between a company and its constituents.
  • Public Relations is the relationship a business or company forms with the public. This can be made through building relationships with key people in society.
  • Public Relations is a dispute that engages with organizations as well as constituents. Communicating between the two groups. Making plans/models for communication strategy based on research and hypothetical scenarios.
  • To me Public Relations is creating a positive image or an idea about a company, person or idea. It is creating lasting relationships with key constituencies that are mutually beneficial.
  • The practice of building and maintaining beneficial relationships with key stakeholders.
  • PR is earned time/communication in the media. PR is not what you say but how you say it. Communication with in and outside of an organization.
  • Evaluating and attempting to persuade an audience and the constituencies of your intended message. Analyzing and controlling information within and outside of the firm.
  • Public Relations involves the incorporation of “earned media” in regards to the representation of an organization, individual or company.
  • PR is building and maintaining mutually beneficial relationships with key constituencies.