Building-up the department has been enormously exciting and satisfying and at the same time Public Relation itself has come of age academically-Anne Gregory

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Building-up the department has been enormously exciting and satisfying and at the same time Public Relation itself has come of age academically—Anne Gregory


Public Relations (PR) has become more and more important and established a respectable status in the business world even in the whole society. As organizations seek ways to increase profits, many turn to the field of public relations as a way of achieving their goals.  In designing public relations/communication programs, there are many factors that public relations practitioners must consider in order to be successful in these markets. Thus, having a clear knowledge of what is PR really about and how is PR put into practice making effect tends to be significant.

I. Definition of Public Relations

Many PR practitioners put blind ideas in doing PR activities without really understand the meaning of PR.

On one hand, the definition of Public Relations, according to Newsom & Kruckeberg (1996) is “about the reputation—the result of what you do, what you say and what others say about you.” Compared to what Chen & Lang (2000) said, Public Relations is a set of communication skills to establish and maintain the good relationship between the organization and its publics, Newsom & Kruckeberg thought PR more as the cognitive result rather than a kind of communication process.

On another hand, Macnamara (1996) and Canadian Public Relations Society (2002) defined PR in the more allround details than the former two ideas. As Canadian PR Society (2002) said, PR is “the management function which evaluates public attitudes, identifies the policies and procedures of an individual or organization with the public interest, and plans and executes a program of action to earn public understanding and acceptance.”

These two thoughts are one-sided and simple. Moreover, the thoughts of Macnamara basically include the former three thoughts to consider PR as a distinctive management function which helps establish and maintain mutual lines of communications, understanding, acceptance, and cooperation between an organization and its publics; involves the management of problems or issues’ helps orgnisations to keep informed on and responsive to public opinion; defines and emphasizes the responsibility of organizations to serve the public interest’ helps organizations keep abreast of and effectively utilize change, serving as an early warning system to help anticipate trends; and uses research and sound and ethical communication techniques as its principal tools. Obviously, this kind of opinion is modern and persuasive that can help PR practitioners deal with PR in the right way. This advanced standpoint change PR from a static objective to a dynamic one, which means that PR is not only accepting the results but it can change the attitudes and thoughts before there forming a result. Just as Macnamara (1996) noted, PR evaluates and then changes the public attitudes and understandings to identify the policies, procedures and image of an organization.

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II. Definition of Publics

After knowing about what is PR about, it is important to correctly identify and characterize the key word “publics” in PR definitions if you want to effectively deal with activism. The relevant publics in PR are treated differently in the past and at present.

A public, according to Dewey (1972) is “ a group whose members face a similar problem, recognize that the problem exists, and organize to do something about it.” But there existed an opposite idea that Grunig (1977) assert there are three stages in the evolution of publics. In the ...

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