20 things public relations is …

Having explored what PR is not, the author takes a stab at identifying some truths about the profession.


Earlier this month, PR Daily published 20 things PR is NOT.” This is the follow up.

Public relations can be so many things, which means I probably left out a few (or a lot), so please add to my list.

Here are 21 things PR is:

1. An industry that has enormous growth potential.

2. A craft that requires fundamental understanding of human needs and wants.

3. A field whose practitioners include charlatans (alas).

4. A profession that the Internet changed profoundly.

5. A profession that is, once again, about relationships with various publics and not just the media. (That is, a profession that’s finally doing what it originally claimed it would do).

6. Sometimes plagued by dumb, shallow idiotic spin (and likely always will be).

7. Overly enamored of buzzwords.

8. Best conducted by people with high emotional intelligence.

9. Starting to understand that it needs to teach its practitioners about business fundamentals.

10. Sometimes prone to taking itself far too seriously.

11. Misunderstood—especially by journalists.

12. A craft that once chased media and now has become media in many organizations.

13. A profession that requires strong writing skills.

14. Pleased that social media came along to renew (increase?) its relevancy.

15. A craft best learned on the job—not in a classroom.

16. Capable of significantly helping reduce organizational costs if applied correctly.

17. In love with conferences. Sometimes ones where nonsense rules the roost.

18. A profession convinced that it should produce more CEOs.

19. In need of easy-to-comprehend standards of measurement.

20. Something oodles of people are passionate about.

Jackson Wightman is a PR Daily contributing editor in Montreal. This story originally ran on PR Daily in April 2011 and first appeared on Jackson’s blog Proper Propaganda.

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