‘PR is all about party planning’—and other misconceptions

The false beliefs about the public relations industry held by aspiring professionals.

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Samantha Jones has set a terrible example for aspiring PR professionals.

The “Sex and the City” character works in public relations—portrayed in the TV show and movies as a fabulous job that’s all about hobnobbing with celebrities, planning parties, and drinking expensive cocktails.

Sure it is.

“Lots of people think PR people are like Samantha Jones,” said Beth Monaghan, a principal and co-founder of InkHouse. “It’s a lot more serious, with a lot more strategy and a lot more time spent behind your laptop trying to get reporters to write about topics.”

Or as Lorra Brown, an associate PR professor at William Paterson University, insists: “PR is not about throwing parties, instead it is about coming up with the best solutions to help clients meet their communication or business objectives.”

Doesn’t sound so glamorous now, does it?

Like any profession, the public relations industry has its share of public misconceptions, chief among them that its practitioners simply plan parties and rub elbows with celebrities. (One person interviewed for this story said she heard an aspiring PR professional say she wanted to enter sports PR to find a husband.)

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