Chapter 1: The Practice of Public Relations

Learning Objectives

After reading this chapter, you will be able to

  • Define public relations.
  • Discuss public relations functions.
  • Describe the multiple roles of a public relations/corporate communications professional.
  • Discuss the four categories of public relations and the similarities and differences between them.
  • Demonstrate the importance of public affairs, government relations, activist groups, and nonprofit organizations.

Public relations is a fast-growing industry which has many jobs to fill and professional advancement opportunities. You can find a public relations department virtually in every big company, as well as in government and non-profit organizations. Despite its popularity, public relations is not easy to define because the profession is constantly evolving. This chapter discusses various definitions and functions of public relations. Learning the lexicon of public relations will help you master the discipline and move quicker in subsequent reading.

Key Terms


Activist Groups
Corporate communication
Corporate public relations
Government relations
Key publics
Nonprofit public relations
Public affairs
Public relations
Public relations agencies




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