New York Times: Public Relations Defined, After an Energetic Public Discussion

BeHeardAustin Editor:  PRSA’s effort to redefine public relations, has yet to find solid ground.   In the New York Times article by Stuart Elliot, the article’s lead contains the term that many journalists use to define PR – “spin doctors“.

There were 927 definitions submitted to the PRSA website from Nov. 21 through Dec. 2, and three were chosen as finalists by a panel composed  of PRSA and 12 global partners. A mere 1447 PR professionals voted on the winning definition, that is considerably less than  the total number of communication professionals in Houston alone and approximately 1/20th of PRSA’s total membership.

The three definitions voted upon were:

  • “Public relations is the management function of researching, communicating and collaborating with publics to build mutually beneficial relationships.”
  • “Public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.”
  • “Public relations is the strategic process of engagement between organizations and publics to achieve mutual understanding and realize goals.”
The winner was definition number two, with 671 votes, or 46.4 percent; - “Public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.” Definition number three received 435 votes, or 30.1 percent; and  number one, with 341 votes, or 23.6 percent.

 

By , New York Times

The words used most often by people who submitted proposals for a new definition of public relations. Illustration: The New York Times

An effort to update the definition of public relations for an age of social media and spin doctors suggests why many people think the public relations industry could use some help with its public relations.

The words used most often by people who submitted proposals for a new definition of public relations.

Gerard Corbett is the chairman and chief executive of the Public Relations Society of America, which led the redefinition contest.

The initiative, known as Public Relations Defined, began in Novemberand drew widespread interest, along with not a small amount of sniping, snide commentary and second-guessing.

Read New York Times article.

 

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