Erika Brewington’s Blog

Reading Notes: Chapter 2

Notes from Public Relations: Strategies and Tactics 9th Edition by Dennis L. Wilcox and Glen T. Cameron

Early Beginnings in America

  • Colonization was a commercial proposition

              -Example: 1620; Virginia Company distributed flyers and brochures throughout Europe offering 50 acres of free land to anyone willing to migrate

  • PR also played a role in American Independence

             -Examples: The Boston Tea Party, Tom Paine’s Common Sense, the Federalist Papers

American Development in the 19th Century

  • Golden Age of the press agent (a person whose work is to get publicity for an individual or organization)
  • The Age of hype (shrewd use of the media and other devices to promote an individual, a cause, or even a product or service)
  • Westward Expansion

            -Throughout 19th Century, publicity and promotion helped to populate the western United States.

            -Burlington and Missouri Railroad promotes Western settlement from England. Men including Bernhard Warkentin helped to attract over 4.5 million people to the Midwestern states.

  • Politics and Activism

             -Development of public relations tactics on the political and activist front

             -Amos Kendall was the first presidential press secretary to President Andrew Jackson

             -Supporters and leaders of causes such as the abolition, suffrage, and prohibition employed publicity to maximize effect throughout country.

             -Activists for social movements and causes have been using public relations tactics throughout history.

  • Corporate Development

            -1897; the term public relations was first used by the Association of American Railroads in a company listing.

1900 to 1950: The Age of Pioneers

  • Samuel Insull-Chicago Edison Company; created a monthly customer magazine
  • Henry Ford-First to use two basic concepts: Positioning (the idea that credit and publicity always go to those who do something first) and being accessible to the press.
  • Teddy Roosevelt-The first president to make extensive use of news conferences and press interviews to drum public support when Congress was often critical or non-supportive.
  • Ivy Lee-The first public relations counsel
  • George Creel-Former newspaper reporter; asked by President Woodrow Wilson to organize a massive public relations effort to unite the nation and to influence world opinion during WW1
  • Edward L. Bernays-“Father of modern public relations”

             -Most famous clients: Ivory Soap, Ballet Russe, Light’s Golden Jubilee

  • Other Famous Pioneers: Arthur w. Page, Benjamin  Sonnenberg, Jim Moran, Rex Harlow, Leone Baxter, Henry Rogers, Elenor Lambert, Elmer Davis, Moss Kendrix

1950 to 2000: Public Relations Comes of Age

  • Public relations became firmly established as an independent part of America’s economic, political and social development.
  • WW11 led to economic boom which produced rapid growth in all areas of public relations.
  • Television was invented
  • Latest estimate from US Department of Labor predicts that public relations will be one of the fastest growing fields; 39.8% growth for PR specialists and 36.6% growth for PR managers from 2004-2014

Evolving Practice and Philosophy

  • 1950 to 2000 marked distinct changes in the practice and philosophy of public relations
  • 1920’s-breakthroughs in social science research led PR to the focus of psychological and sociological effects of persuasive communication on target audiences.
  • Rex and Bernays believed in two-way asymmetric model (campaigns should be based on feedback and analysis of audience’s dispositions and value system so messages could be constructed for maximum effect)
  • Two-way symmetric model (balance between organization and its various publics; organization and the public influence each other)
  • Press agentry/publicity (one-way communication through mass media; may be exaggerated, distorted or incomplete)
  • Public information (one-way distribution of information; not necessarily with a persuasive intent)
  • Public relations personnel should use research to:
  1. environmental monitoring
  2. public relations audits
  3. communication audits
  4. social audits

             – doing these can enhance corporate social responsibility (CSR)

Transformation of the Field: Next 50 Years

  • Feminization of the field and the recruitment of a more diverse workforce are already established trends
  • A Multicultural World
  • The Public Demand for Transparency
  • Expanding the Role of Public Relations
  • The New Imperative: Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
  • Increased Emphasis on Measurement and Evaluation
  • Managing the 24/7 News Cycle
  • The Fragmentation of Mass Media
  • The Rise of Social Media
  • Outsourcing to Public Relations Firms
  • The Need for Lifelong Learning

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  1. Wow, those are thorough notes!

    | Reply Posted 9 years, 2 months ago

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