define public relations

People have many different definitions of what we mean by “Public Relations.” No single definition has been accepted as being the only or best one for the profession. But several have been proposed by various organizations and authors, and still others are held by average men and women. The purpose of this assignment is for you to explore the meaning of public relations and come to your own understanding. This is important as you begin your professional studies, because ultimately the way you understand Public Relations will have a lot to do with the contributions you will make and the benefits you will derive from the profession.

Part One: Interview five friends, relatives, or acquaintances. Two of these may be students in another major. Three should be non-students who currently or in the past have been employed. Each of the five should be older than age 18. Ask each to explain what she/he thinks Public Relations does or accomplishes. Record or paraphrase each response in 25 to 50 words. Type these responses. Include a one-line description of the person you interviewed (including sex, age, city/state, occupation/major, and what makes these individuals unique to interview).

Part Two: Consult five books, periodicals, or websites. Three of these should be Public Relations-oriented. The two others should be from a related discipline such as journalism, marketing, advertising, business, etc. Copy a definition of Public Relations from each of these sources. These should be formal definitions or full explanations, not simply passing references. Include the title, author, and publication date of each, according to APA Style. Do not cite sources older than 243 years.

Part Three: Think about your own understanding of Public Relations. Create a comprehensive definition that you find encompasses this understanding. This definition may include thoughts like those in other definitions, but it must be your own phrasing.

Part Four: Discuss how you think your definition in Part Three relates to both the common definitions you discovered in Part One and the more formal ones you found in Part Two. Specifically, discuss three questions: How is your definition similar? How is it different? What are the merits of the various versions?


This assignment (all assignments during this semester) should be typed. Clearly label each part (as outlined above) with boldface type or an underline and then submit in a format that I can open.  If not, your assignment will not be graded resulting in a zero.

Part One: 10 points (completion)
Part Two: 10 points (completion)
Part Three: 15 points (thoroughness, thoughtfulness, professional insight)
Part Four: 10 points (logic and thoroughness of discussion for each element)
Mechanics: 5 points (language usage, punctuation, spelling, appearance)

The assignment will be noted as forty (50) points on Canvas.