Crash Course in PR

My introduction to the PR world came a bit late in my time as an undergraduate. I’m guilty of believing the term “Public Relations” to be synonymous with Samantha Jones of Sex and the City. If I thought Advertising, my chosen major, was pretty high up on the BS-meter, then PR was at the very top. It all seemed frivolous and shallow to me.
But once I got a taste of PR in some of my upper-level communications classes, I realized Samantha Jones was a very exaggerated example of one, small piece of the PR pie. After learning a bit more about the history of PR and the different types of PR jobs, I realized that this is where I wanted to be.
Of course, this was during my final year of undergrad, and I’ll-be-damned if I was going to change majors that late in the game. So, when I was accepted into the Mayborn Graduate Program, I decided to devote my studies to the world of Public Relations.
So far, I’ve learned there are many areas of Public Relations I never even considered: media relations, public affairs, marketing communications, B2B relations, donor relations for nonprofits, crisis management, and social media relations – to name a few.
In class, Professor Bufkins told us about the stigma PR practitioners have of being “faux journalists.” When I tell people I’m a journalism major focusing in PR, I definitely get the sideways glances and snide comments, so I enjoyed her clever retort to give these name-callers: Without Public Relations, journalists would have nothing to write about, and without Advertising, they’d have no one to pay for their writing. Ha!
So to wrap this up, I’ll leave saying I no longer believe PR is simply schmoozing and getting your clients’ name in the paper. Good PR is a two-way conversation, and social media has become a huge part of that. My goal for this semester is to learn a little about each segment of the PR family, and, hopefully, I’ll collect more snarky retorts for all the PR-haters out there.
Katy Hartwick
@katyhartwick on Twitter
2 Responses to “Crash Course in PR”
  1. Jewlz says:

    I recognize some of Dr. Fuse's teachings from our first class in your entry, ;-). I think his is going to be a great course to take in conjunction with Professor Bufkins'. Let us newbie PR students walk into the depths of the unknown and kick butt this semester, shall we?

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