Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Teaching PR history
Just had a great discussion with my grad seminar students on public relations history. We read Margaret Duffy's article (in Critical Studies in Media Communication, 2000-- sorry, can't find a public link) criticizing the presentation of PR history in leading textbooks, which most frequently present PR as a progression from bad (in terms of ethics and effectiveness) to better to good.
- When did PR start? It's hard to know when to start describing PR history if we can't define what it is.
- Who exactly is a PR person? Why are activists, reformers, war propagandists, etc. not "PR people" while corporate publicists are?
- Do PR researchers (historical or otherwise) emphasize the positive in order to promote PR and increase its credibility as a field, in part to support their own decisions to study and/or teach it?