Public Relations is a very fascinating field- I should know, considering I made the decision to get a degree in it. However, at Drake, it’s not the only thing someone needs to learn about if they’re going to get a degree in it. Public Relations is under the college of communications, meaning that other communications classes are required in order to get that Public Relations degree.
Communications as a family of practices and knowledge sets isn’t too well understood by the general public, however- so why don’t I bring you through some of the members of the family of communications myself?
This is the one I specialize in, in case that wasn’t already clear enough. Public Relations is only “kind of” what people know it is; people think it’s about looking good in the public eye, and that’s the largest portion of it! It’s a little more complex then that, though.
The “official” definition, according to the PRSA, is that “Public Relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.”
A “public” is just any group of people in general; which can even include employees! So, in essence, PR is the practice of making sure anybody who cares about your organization is happy with it, which can mean all sorts of things!
The definition is so wide that it can mean anything from organizing community events to tie-ins with other brands to TV spots and interviews. Public Relations is one of the most flexible communications disciplines out there.
Now, multimedia isn’t a discipline in itself- it’s a grouping of a lot of different things like graphic design, web design, and photography. It’d be surprising to think of something like a National Geographic photography project to be in the same area as PR, but they’re both ultimately about communicating information; PR communicates organizational data, and the various multimedia forms communicate
According to the American Press Institute, journalism is “Journalism is the activity of gathering, assessing, creating, and presenting news and information. It is also the product of these activities.” Just like multimedia and PR, journalism is another way of disseminating information.
Journalism, multimedia, and PR are all ultimately pretty intertwined; any PR team would love to have a graphic designer on board, and you’d be hard pressed to find one that isn’t trying to suck up to a reporter to make sure a story comes out with a good spin.