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Old Monday, August 19, 2013
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Default Jounalism notes 11


The term Public Relations was first used by the US President Thomas Jefferson during his address toCongress in 1807.One of the earliest definitions of PR was created by Edward Bernays. According to him, "Public Relations is a management function which tabulates public attitudes, defines the policies, procedures and interest of an organization followed by executing a program of action to earn public understanding and acceptance." Examples/users of public relations include:
• Corporations using marketing public relations (MPR) to convey information about the products
they manufacture or services they provide to potential customers in order to support their direct
sales efforts. Typically, they support sales in the short to long term, establishing and burnishing
the corporation's branding for a strong, ongoing market.
• Corporations using public relations as a vehicle to reach legislators and other politicians, in
seeking favorable tax, regulatory, and other treatment. Moreover, they may use public relations to
portray themselves as enlightened employers, in support of human-resources recruiting programs.
• Non-profit organizations, including schools and universities, hospitals, and human and social
service agencies: such organizations may make use of public relations in support of awareness
programs, fund-raising programs, staff recruiting, and to increase patronage of their services.
• Politicians aiming to attract votes and/or raise money. When such campaigns are successful at the
ballot box, this helps in promoting and defending their service in office, with an eye to the next election or, at a career’s end, to their legacy. Today "Public Relations is a set of management, supervisory, and technical functions that foster an organization's ability to strategically listen to, appreciate and respond to those persons whose mutually beneficial relationships with the organization are necessary if it is to achieve its missions and values." Essentially it is a management function that focuses on two-way communication and fostering of mutually beneficial relationships between an organization and its publics.
Evidence of the practices used in modern day public relations are scattered through history. One notable practitioner was Georgiana Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire whose efforts on behalf of Charles James Fox in the 18th century included press relations, lobbying and, with her friends, celebrity campaigning. A number of American precursors to public relations are found in publicists who specialized in promoting circuses, theatrical performances, and other public spectacles. In the United States, where public relations has its origins, many early PR practices were developed in support of the expansive power of the railroads. In fact, many scholars believe that the first appearance of the term "public relations" appeared in the 1897 Year Book of Railway Literature. Later, PR practitioners were—and are still often—recruited from the ranks of journalism. Some reporters, concerned with ethics, criticize former colleagues for using their inside understanding of news media to help clients receive favorable media coverage.
In the United Kingdom Sir Basil Clarke (1879-12 Dec 1947) was an early pioneer of public relations (PR. Despite many journalists' discomfort with the field of public relations, well-paid PR positions remain a popular choice for reporters and editors forced into a career change by the instability and often fewer economic opportunities provided by the print and electronic media industry.

Persuasion & Public Relation

Much of what we know of modern business, industry, entertainment, government, even religion, has been shaped by the practice of public relations. The act of helping an organization and its public adapt to each
other or to “win the corporation of groups of people” calls on practitioners to “establish and maintain

mutual lines of communications” to manage problems or issues, to help management respond to public opinion and to use change in a positive way, to “serve as an early warning system and to help management understand how best to serve the public interest. In other words practitioners are asked to serve a variety of roles within the organization, including those of spokesperson, listener, planner, surveyor and counselor. Such a daunting task list has prompted calls for increased emphasis on ethical practice. The two largest organizations have adopted formal codes of ethical practice, each with something distinctive within the field of professional communication ethics enforcement process.
In 1950 PRSA enacts the first "Professional Standards for the Practice of Public Relations," a forerunner to the current Code of Ethics, last revised in 2000 to include six core values and six code provisions. The six core values are "Advocacy, Honesty, Expertise, Independence, Loyalty, and Fairness." The six code provisions consulted with are "Free Flow of Information, Competition, Disclosure of Information,Safeguarding Confidences, Conflicts of Interest, and Enhancing the Profession."In 1982 effective Public Relations helped save the Johnson & Johnson Corporation, after the highly
publicized Tylenol poisoning crisis.
Public Relations Ethics Challenges
It's a pretty scary world we work in these days. Public relations activities of influence, and that includes such simple activities as communications meant to educate, are being closely scrutinized. The general public is on our case, the news media is on our case, and even we are on our own case.At a time when the public relations profession is most needed, at a time when institutions and values are being attacked from all sides, we are taking our lumps -- and mighty big lumps they are. "Spin doctors," "PR ploy," "PR maneuver," "PR effort" -- these denigrating epithets abounds in the news media and in normal, daily conversations between normal, educated citizens. More and more, people are paying attention to what we as public relations professionals are doing. And more and more, they're calling us on actions they consider unethical.Let's face it, folks. The "ethics police" are here. They're outside your door, they're on the street, they're in their homes, they're in front of their TV sets, and they’re in their cars listening to their radios. Why, and they’re even in your own offices.Every minute of the day, every day of the year, know that you are being watched. The ethics police are looking hard for conflicts of interest, they're looking hard for improprieties, they're atching for a slip-up,they're itching for a fight, and they’re waiting to pounce. But you know what? They have every right to. After all, public relations is an advocacy profession. Our ultimate goal is to influence public opinion. Our ultimate objective is to get people to take positive action on behalf of our client, organization or cause. And that in itself is controversial.
Three Ethics Systems
Before we talk about some solutions and present some thoughts that will help you, let's examine ethics itself. The question of what is right and what is wrong is not an easy one. We all have our personal ethical standards; each of ours is different. Let's begin with a look at three basic ethical systems: Deontology, teleology, and Aristotle's Golden Mean.
This system is duty-based and relies on moral obligation. Deontological ethics says that all actions are inherently right or wrong. This system depends on the inner-based, self-discipline of each individual public relations practitioner, and because we are all human, and of different environmental backgrounds, it changes from person to person, depending on their own cultural and traditional biases.


This system is outcome-based. Teleological ethicists believe that "the ends justify the means." While this system has had its detractors, there is considerable historical precedence, and deserves extended discussion. Christianity, for example, began with one man battling what he considered corrupt religion. Jesus Christ used what we today would call classic public relations techniques: He used the two-step flow theory of communication, He did a lot of public appearances, He staged special events, He identified and targeted specific audiences, and He adapted His message to each audience. In the case of Christianity, did the ends justify the means?
Today, the techniques being used by Greenpeace bear watching. Only history will tell if their activities of civil disobedience as once described by Henry David Thoreau bring changes for the better good in the end.
Aristotle's Golden Mean:
This system is based on what's best for the majority, the greatest good for greatest number. This is generally the system used in a democracy (rule of the majority with respect for the minority), where the minority sometimes has to sacrifice something of value if it's good for the country as a whole. This ends our quick lesson on ethical systems. Let's turn now to knowledge and truth.
God has sent us to do something special,Life is once for all but not to be Repeated by a pendulum.
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