This is PR: The Realities of Public Relations 11th Ed. (Newsom et al.) Chapter 1 Summary

This is PR: The Realities of Public Relations, 11th Edition

So I’m going to study Public Relations at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications in July and I’m getting an early start on the homework by reading This is PR: The Realities of Public Relations, which is apparently the standard introductory textbook for the profession. I’ll be sharing some notes on this text and others as I wade my way into public relations. Feel free to add any comments you may have below.

This is PR: The Realities of Public Relations, 11th Edition

This is PR: The Realities of Public Relations, 11th Edition

Chapter 1- Major Points

“All public relations should exist to preserve a consistent reputation and build relationships” – Robert I Wakefield

International Consistency of PR Practice:

Despite differences in the social, economic and political climates in difference countries there is an increasing general acceptance on what constitutes public relations.

Lucien Matrat, author of public relations’ international code of ethics writes “Public relations…forms part of the strategy of management. Its function is twofold: to respond to the expectations of those whose behaviour, judgements and opinions can influence the operation and development of an enterprise, and in turn to motivate them… Establishing public relations policies means, first and foremost, harmonizing the interest of an enterprise with the interests of those on whom its growth depends.”

The PR practitioner

  • serves as an intermediary between the organization that he/she represents and all of that organization’s stakeholders
  • sets organizational politics which affects its stakeholders
  • distributes information that enables the institutions’ publics to understand the policies,
  • adjusts policies in response to feedback from those stakeholders
PR involves
  • research on stakeholders
    • receiving info from them
    • advising management on their attitudes
    • helping set polities that demonstrates attention to them
Although the book claims a 2013 copyright, the definition of PR by The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) is already outdated. Public relations, according to PRSA, is”a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.”Career, Job (Field) or ProfessionThere is disagreement on whether or not PR is a profession due to ambiguities on whether it meets three criterion:

  1. Command over a body of knowledge.
    1. PRSA has developed such a body but it applies in the US only and “has been criticized by the International Public Relations Association for its parochialism” (3).
    2. General acceptance of a standard educational curriculum.
      1. This which exists to a degree in the US but may be difference elsewhere, where education in PR is growing rapidly.
    3. Control over entry and exit
      1. Guidelines set by PRSA membership exist but are not mandatory to ‘practice’ public relations
Sustainability, Governance, Management, Internal Communication, External Communication, and Coordination of Internal and External Communications.
The three basic roles of a PR practitioner 
  1. Staff Member
    1. In smaller organizations they may be responsible for all PR
    2. Large organizations may pay outside firms for services (research, comm. audits, etc)
      1. Commercial and Large Nonprofit Organizations
        1. Due to tech, # of lower jobs have decreased and middle management has grown while senior levels remain consistent
      2. Government
        1. Jobs vary widely from the equivalents of publicist to VP Communication
  2. Firm/Agency Employees
    1. Depending on firm size there may be specialists in different areas.
  3. Independent Practitioners/Counselor
    1. Works in advisory role for consultant’s fee commiserate with value of knowledge and experience
Fields of Specialization: Nonprofit Organizations, Fundraising or Donor Relations, Research: Trend Analysis, Issues Management, and Public Opinion Evaluation, International PR for Organizations and Firms, Financial PR or Investor Relations, Industry General Business or Retail PR, Government (Federal/State/Local, NGO Government Relations, Political PR, Lobbying), Health Care, Sports, Leisure Time
Functions of PR in Business and Society
3 Traditional Views
Public Relations
  1. serves to control publics, by directing what people think or do to satisfy the needs or desires of an institution (manipulative)*
  2. responds to publics- reacting to developments, problems or the initiatives of others (service)*
  3. achieves mutually beneficial relationships among all the publics that an institution has (transactional)*
*As described by Harvard business professor Stephen A. Greyser
Typologies: Manager vs. Technician
Managers self-describe as having much more autonomy than technicians
 Michael Ryan – “public relations persons would do well to seek out participative environments and to avoid authoritarian environments” Really? That’s quote-worthy?
PR as Counsel for Social Responsibility
Hazel Handerson- Normal pattern of business response to social issues:
  1. Ignore the problem
  2. If publicity calls widespread attention to the problem, admit its existence but present business as a victim of circumstances it cannot alter
  3. When the public takes the problem to lawmakers, lobby, testify in legislative hearing and advertise to get opinion leaders to believe that the proposed solutions constitute government interference in the private economy
  4. After new regulations are final, announce that business can live with them
Moving from defensive strategies to being held to account for social issues. (See Edelman’s Social Purpose practice)
The chapter goes in to much further detail and serves as an excellent introduction to the field. I’ll be posting more (if shorter) notes on future readings.

Note: excerpts and analysis of this text are fair use in that they constitute a “reproduction by a teacher or student of a small part of a work to illustrate a lesson“.

Geoff Campbell According to Google or Why You Need LinkedIn and BrandYourself

Geoff Campbell's LinkedIn Profile

If you’re looking for a professional job where people will do any sort of background check, they’re going to at the very least google your name, and it’s important to have only the best results show up on the first page of results, and very important you get to be the first result because 34% of people click on the #1 result.

Geoff Campbell's LinkedIn Profile

Geoff Campbell’s LinkedIn Profile

Unfortunately I’ve only got to the second result, but it’s my LinkedIn profile, followed by a listing of people named “Geoff Campbell”, with my profile as the top listing. If you don’t know, LinkedIn is an online listing of your education, experience, and recommendations in addition to being powerful tool for professionals to connect with current and future employers, and peers in your industry.

Geoff Campbell's BrandYourself Progress

Geoff Campbell’s BrandYourself Progress

I’m currently using this great new online tool at that helps people get their positive links to rank higher in Google search results. It has helped me move positive links 87 positions and buried unwanted (“not me”) links down 23 positions. You should give it a try.

Keeping in touch

Hey everyone. I just wanted to write a bit of a post for everybody at Mount Allison (and everywhere else) on how to keep in touch with me now that I’ve moved back to Boston. If we knew each other I’m sure we’re already friends on Facebook (Geoff Campbell). Anybody can subscribe to me there but I’ve decided to accept friend requests only from people I actually know. Anybody can follow me on Twitter (Geoff Campbell) and connect with me on LinkedIn (Geoff Campbell). You can subscribe to this blog via FeedBurner. You can also check out my old blog (Geoff Campbell at Mount Allison University).

If you want to contact me directly, use this form.


Yesterday I graduated with a B.A. Honours in International Relations at Mount Allison University. Today, I travelled from there back home to Boston. It’s tough leaving a place I’ve called home for longer than anywhere else since I a little boy. It was an incredible experience. I learned, read, and wrote more than I thought possible and I matured and improved as a person by an incredible amount.

Most important of all were the friendships I made. I really can’t explain in words how much I appreciated meeting and really getting to know some amazing people. I miss you all already.

Right now I’ve got to catch up on sleep from my last weekend as an undergraduate student but I’ll leave you with a song. I can’t think of anything more fitting than Changes by Bowie so here it is:


Goodbye Mount Allison University

I’m leaving Mount Allison University and Sackville, NB today. I don’t know if/when I’ll ever be back. I’ve called this place home for 1356 days now. That seems like an insane number. Four years of laughs, stress, exciting nights, restless nights, days in the sun, days in the library. At times it’s been incredible to be here but other times it’s been incredibly frustrating. In the end though, I’m glad I came here because I wouldn’t trade all of the experiences I’ve had here for anything. That includes the times I didn’t have fun or when, honestly, I screwed up miserably. It’s an overused phrase but everything really has been a learning experience. I think I’m a much different person now than when I was eighteen and that’s a really good thing. During my four years I’ve learned a lot about myself, about human nature, and about what I want to do with my life. I happened to learn a little bit in the classroom as well but experiences with students outside of class have been much more valuable.Right now I’m on my way back home to Boston. Home, to Boston. It took me a while but now it doesn’t sound odd. Soon enough my new home will be in Syracuse, New York. I know, for better or worse, it will be an entirely different experience than Mount Allison. For instance, the population of Sackville in 2011 was 5,558 people. In 2010, Syracuse was home to 145,170 people. Mount Allison has about 2,500 students. Syracuse University has 20,407, including 6,206 post-graduates. For better or worse I’ll probably never live in a town as small as Sackville again.

Take care everybody. If I write here again it may not be for a while. If you want to keep up with what I’m doing follow me @GeoffBCampbell.

Now I have to go but I’ll leave you with a song. So Long and Thanks for all the Fish.

Finished Work at Mount Allison University

Geoff Campbell's going away gifts
My co-workers are pretty awesome.

This afternoon I finished up my last day of work at the Marketing and Communications Office at Mount Allison University. I finished the video “Why Consider Mount Allison University” as my last project. If I’m able to end up somewhere with co-workers half as supportive, funny, and generally great to be around I’ll consider myself lucky.

For my part I did a extensive research of best practices on using social media for higher education and worked to integrate them into Mount Allison’s ongoing communication strategy.

For this field metrics are important but on a personal level it wasn’t the success of any project I worked on but the genuine support of my direct and indirect supervisors.

Geoff Campbell - Mount Allison University Recommendations

If I am ever fortunate enough to be able to pay it forward I will because my time there ultimately convinced me to pursue a career in communications.

Thanks to everybody who made my year working there a great one.


Why should you consider attending Mount Allison University?

I’m graduating from Mount Allison University on Monday.  Today is my last day of work at the Marketing and Communications Office at the school where I’ve worked full- and part-time for over a year. Here’s my last project, a video of current students discussing why you should consider attending Mount Allison University. I hope you enjoy it.

Graduating from Mount Allison University


I’m Geoff Campbell and this is my website. It’s designed to be a simple online resume, blog, portfolio of work samples. I used to write this blog but have since moved on for the most part. For more information on me see the about page.

Onto my first post:

In twelve days, I’ll be graduating with a B.A. with an Honours in International Relations from Mount Allison University, the top-ranked undergraduate university in Canada. It has been quite the amazing, challenging, life-changing four years. While I wish I could take my friends with me when I leave, I’m more than ready to be done being an undergraduate student. I’m grateful for everything up to the point and I’m looking forward to the future.

That’s really about it for now.

Until next time,