The majority of PR practitioners are employed on the full time staff pf organisations, and a very large number of these are with non-commercial organisations such as central and local Government, voluntary bodies, social services and educational establishments. An increasing number of industrial and commercial companies are engaging their own PR personnel, & me times these PR practitioners are concerned with internal and external communications of every kind, but more often they are associated with the marketing side of the business, Much depends on the kind of business, and the importance that top management places upon PR, Outside PR services may be engaged through the following PR units:
1. The PR department of an advertising agency.
2. The PR subsidiary of an advertising agency, operating independently and under a very different name in most cases.
3. An independent PR consultancy, that is one having no financial association with an advertising agency.
Names and addresses of consultancies, and lists of their clients, may be found in Advertiser’s Annual and the Hollis Press and Public Relations Annual, and a directory is published in Campaign about twice a year.
Some PR consultancies specialize in classes of work such as financial PR, publications and house journals, exhibitions, or particular industries. Some handle consumer goods, others industrial, A few offer counselling services, that is studying the communication problems of an organisation and making reports and recommendations only.
Publicity and public relations
Many people frankly have difficulty in distinguishing publicity from advertising and press agency from public relations, This difficulty is hardly the public’s fault, for the practitioners in these several fields have a way of using terms in referring to their work which tend to lur the lines of demarcation. Let us take each of these words and phrases in turn and attempt to clear up the general befuddlement.
Publicity we can define 88 the process of making something known. It is as old as the first gesture of announcement, It utilizes all existing media of communication–oral, written. pictorial. It makes known what it wants to through advertising, through press agents and through pamphlets and billboards, Publicity succeeds when It brings its message to its desired public.
Advertising is the commercial phase of publicity, Through paid announcements in the press, over the radio, on television, on painted signs or on the lowly handbill, the advertiser endeavours
to sell the article or articles or beliefs which he wants sold.
Press agency as a phrase covers the methods used by press agents to secure publicity for their clients. These clients may be corporations, articles, resorts, plays, books, theories, individuals, The list is long and as varied as press agency methods. As a result these methods usually succeed in getting publicity in one or all of the media, free, gratis and for nothing.
Public relations, the newest term of the four, describes an organized system devised for the influencing of opinion. It utilizes when necessary all the skills and techniques of publicity, advertising and press agency toward this end, According to Averell Broughton, a public relations counsel, in his brochure on the subject, opinion is formed by outside impressions.
The multiplicity and speed of these impressions through modern ,communications make it possible to achieve social changes in a few years which in the past would have taken generations or centuries.
Today the publicity man, the press agent and the public relations counsel control the news which newspapers get from very many important sources-whole fields of news.
Whereas the reporter formerly could gain access to corporation heads, make his own inquiries, and ask questions that gave him insight even if unanswered, now these men will rarely see reporters and screen themselves behind prepared statements, In a business crisis or industrial dispute-for the labour unions have not been slow to adopt the new method-It is almost impossible to bring a joined issue before the court of public opinion, because statements that are not responsive are frequently all that can be obtained.
Dr. Brown, as a fair critic, admitted that a great deal of the mass of “publicity matter” that is offered by interested parties to the newspapers and accepted by them has news value and deals with worthy enterprises entitled to notice. But he contended that this fact does not make the prevailing habit of opening newspaper columns to press agent productions less dangerous.
The essence of the mischief of propaganda is not its falsity in any particular case, but its origin, The essence of journalism is its autonomous expression of itself as an interpreter of society, The editor who is entitled to confidence, and who alone in the long run will get it, is he whose every utterance is his own. Neither the accuracy of a journal’s news nor the justness of its opinions is half as important to society as certainty that whatever it publishes is the result of its own independent outlook on the world in the capacity of a public watchman, That is its profession that is its trust.