Public Relations: Changes And Influence On Society

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This essay will argue that public relations had changed and shaped society since the BC times and continues to be developed during time. This essay will mainly discuss how the manipulative early history of public relations has become an ethical profession over the time. This essay will explore what public relations is, the 3 main jobs and how it has changed over a period. Lastly, this essay will briefly explain the Grunig and Hunt’s model of public relations.

Public relations are having strategies such as persuasion, manipulation, information and mutual influence to create beneficial relationships between an organisations, commercials or non-commercials and audience members of the public, though face to face conversations, web-based media, and news media. Public relations changed and shaped. The earliest origin public relations were first developed was in ancient Greece. In 400BC where Plato, an empire created the art rhetoric to persuade and influence. In saying to that, 400BC was a time where democracy first happened (Lattimore, 2012). During the American settlement and the quest for country independence was the Boston Tea Party. With the use of manipulation catchy slogans, imagery and symbolism created and drew the public’s attention which formed propaganda. Edward Bernays, an American pioneer, was the ‘father’ of public relations and was the first to create and write the three main elements of public relations. Which was to persuade, inform and integrate people with people. However, in the present day, there are some new strategies. Ivy Lee, who was a press agent for Anthracite Coal and Pennsylvania Railroad, saw that his business needed to be presented to the public in a manner that could be positively understood by employees and the community at the time. By gaining public support, he implemented a policy of complete openness, creating respect and truthfulness for his clients by the media and the public and maintained the spirit of the ‘Secret Act’ which was where organisations have had practices of private businesses strictly their own “private” business and no others had the right to know about their secluded matters. Lee made sure that he would never jeopardise himself in a position of announcing a lie to the public. (Gower, 2008)

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Edward Bernays, Ivy Lee and other historians shaped the way public relations shapes the world. As time goes on, more job opening for public relations have increased dramatically. Allowing more employment in different facilities in the industry filled. However, ethics in public relations play a crucial role in society. Pearson (1989) argues that positions public relations as the centre of building an effective business ethic. According to this ‘all ‘truths’ emerge out of the process of negotiation and debates’ There is not right or wrong, only subjective views shaped by the social and cultural environmental on what is considered right and wrong. The academic source also suggests that ‘public relations plays ‘the central role in corporate communication’ and also plays ‘the major role in managing the moral dimeson of corporate conduct’ (Theaker, 2012, p. 85). In similarity to the two-way symmetrical model (Theaker, 2012, p. 85). This section of academic source, argues how ethics in public relations are important to a business and that it is effect and ‘the central role of corporate communication’ (Theaker, 2012, p. 85). Ethics are disciplines expected in one’s behaviour and is used in public relations to control and establishes rules on the way a company should operate. Some examples are honesty, openness, respect and loyalty. With these ethics, it shows how a moral principle can affect a business in the way that’s giving the public. These ethics are important to public relations because, it keeps businesses on track and gives them a good reputation to the public, avoids any legal or financial issues and gives all employees fair and equal benefits. However, if these ethics aren’t followed in a professional manner, it then positions a business unethical.

According to figure one: Grunig and Hunt’s model of public relations in Module four – Theoretical Models displays the four different models that show the specific objectives to the specific target audience. Each of the models share a similarity of using strategical tactics to gain economic and social profit. To argue, the theoretical model provides evidence stating ‘organisations do not require to change their attitudes, practices and policies; but rather, gain understanding and acceptance of their views and positions from the public’ (Grunig, 1984).Opportunities in the industry such as advertising, marketing and journalism share this model. However, they are each used in different ways. For instance, marketing uses this model to promote, advertising uses the model to also promote, and journalism uses this model to provide information to the public. Comparing the modern-day public relations and past public relations, there is a dramatic difference. In present day, there are more platforms to reach target audiences, such as social media, news media and television media. However, in past times it was relied to the people and their communication and writing skills to present the public. In present days, public relations have expanded dramatically, allowing many to have the opportunity to work in the industry, and as technology advances so will public relations.

This essay discussed and explained how public relations has changed and shaped society, and how the manipulative early history of public relations has shaped modern public relations to be an ethical profession. This essay also explained the ethical sides of public relations and how that impacts society positively. This essay also mentions the Grunig and Hunt’s model of public relations and briefly explains how it functions not only in past society, but in modern society also. The essay also briefly explains how other jobs in the public relations industry fall into line with the model. An Appendix are also displayed in this essay to support the given argument.  


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