Cara Mitchell

September 8, 2008

Ch. 3: What PR History Teaches Me

Filed under: Responses — by caramitchell @ 2:18 am

The most important idea that I think is presented in this chapter on PR history is the theme that the past is prologue. This is why it is so important to understand history and take notes on where and how others fell short or excelled.

Something that this chapter really made me think about was about representing clients that are controversial. It is definitely a personal and ethical choice, but there is so much truth in the saying “bad company corrupts good character” and the spin that the book puts on this saying, “you are judged by the company you keep”. It will be necessary to represent clients who have a negative reputation with the public and this is definitely a part of PR, but there is a line to be drawn between these clients and those who are completely up to no good (like the question in the book asking whether or not you would represent an exectuive who stole from his company).  This was the downfall of Ivy Ledbetter Lee – although he is credited with establishing ethics within the profession of PR, he is also noted as not walking the walk.

Another lesson to learn from this brief history of PR is from Mr. Edward Bernays. Our book talks about his success, the strides he made for the discipline of public relations, and how he is considered the father of PR. The book also mentions the way that he was very focused on self-promotion – to the point where he sometimes received more credit for an organization’s efforts than the company itself received. It’s definitely necessary to make yourself look good, that’s how you actually get clients, but it’s important to remember that it’s not all about you…

The main lesson I learned here is to pay attention to the history of PR and what people have done in the past because it is crucial to my future.


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