Monday, January 12, 2015

Chapter 2

            The second chatper of “Public Relations,” focuses on the history of public relations – as it is titled as its “evolution. The chapter introduces itself with some example of early forms of stunts that could potentially be public relations; Greeks carving messages on stones to demoralize the Ionian Fleet, Alexander the Great boasting and publicizing his war victories, etc. Though no form of public relation career was set and used for these historic figures, many different uses of public relations manifested such as launching books, propaganda, and even staging public events (or as the previous chapter coined: special events). A poignant idea of the speed of information flow was made with relating todays ability to blog and share information with Martin Luther’s “95 Theses,” an act that would launch protestant reformation. This was made possible because the printing press sped up the speed of information delivery just as internet has done today.
            In the evolution of Public Relations, the book pegs P.T. Barnum as a significant character for his idea of planning events that would happen simply for the purpose of being reported. In short, P.T. Barnum planned staged events and semi-preposterous claims in order to promote ticket sales and media coverage of the shows he was representing. Barnum was coined as one of America’s “first media celebrities,” for his actions.
            Relating more to my Jesuit education experience, Ida B. Wells received an exposé in this chapter. Coincidentally, I wrote many essays in a history class focusing on Wells my freshman year of undergrad; she wrote exposés about herself, the African American experience, and the cruelties that came with it. Some articles failed and some skyrocketed to fame. Ida was a founder of the NAACP and landed herself a place in history and this book.
            The chapter goes on to highlight many different significant characters that were relevant in the evolution of Public Relations, and finally sums up the last fifty years of PR. The book pegs 1950 – 2000 the “coming of age” for public relations. This is because of a booming economy after World War II. A booming economy meant more functions in all institutions: government, non-profit and because our country is founding on capitalism, corporations. Therefore, many new public relations opportunities were created.
            With the rise of public relations as a career comes the analysis of who is participating in said career. Statistically, the book explains that since the 1970’s women have began to dominate the public relations career as opposed to the men that were scattered in its evolution. The chapter then bullet points some questionable reasons why women dominate the field including: “women are perceived to have better listening skills,” “women can work form home,” and “women are better at writing and giving presentations because of liberal arts colleges.” After this explanation the chapter decimates the female gender’s claim to fame in this field, pointing out that males still predominately outrank females in executive rank.

            Looking toward the future, the chapter predicts how PR will evolve with the roles of new technology. The world, though still physically the same, is becoming a socially smaller space. Therefore, the future of public relations is going to have to adhere to a multicultural world with every diverse person imaginable. Our demand for rapid information will cause the need to information transparency. Ultimately, these factors will call for an “expanded role for public relations.”

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