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PR Myths Debunked


When I tell people I am a public relations major, I usually get asked one of the following questions:

“Like Lauren Conrad from The Hills?”

“Oh! Didn’t Samantha Jones from Sex and the City do PR?”

Or the most typical, “What is public relations?”

Although, I do adore Lauren Conrad and yes Samantha Jones’ fictional character did work in PR there is so much more to public relations. These shows only displayed one small part of PR when the truth is it’s not all publicity full of glamour and boozy lunches.

So, what do PR practitioners do? Public relations is the values driven management function that helps establish and maintain mutually beneficial long-term relationships between an organization and its publics through two-way communication to serve the organization and public interests. Whew, it is hard to give an all-encompassing answer for what PR professionals do because so much work goes into contributing to their clients’ businesses.

“PR is all spin, propaganda and hype.” Wrong. Public relations professionals typically work hand in hand with journalists and are held to a high ethical standard. Of course, there are those who have given the field a negative reputation in the past but many people in PR used to work in news themselves.

Another myth is “PR is easy so I can just do it myself,” which is certainly not true. You never know when a crisis is going to strike your company, so every organization needs a reputable PR department. Not everyone can do PR but everyone needs it.

Finally, the dreaded phrase “publicity is all luck” is anything but true. Whenever a public relations professional lands their organizations event in the news it’s not just a stroke of luck.

This resulted from someone working for weeks writing a press release, contacting reporters and crafting social media plans along with other strategies to earn recognition for their client. It’s easy to assume PR is easy because so much of the magic happens behind the scenes, but that’s when it’s its best.


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SWOOP | Student-Managed Advertising and PR Agency

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