P

Paradigm: A world view that frames our approach to how we perceive a topic. So the communication paradigm views public relations as a communication process; the relationship paradigm as relationship building; the reputation paradigm as reputation management.

Persuasion: Public relations can be seen as a planned process of persuasion (though the dominant paradigm rejects persuasion in favour of two-way symmetric communication). Persuasion can involve appeals to logic and to emotion and involve verbal and non-verbal communication.

PESO: The Paid-Earned-Shared-Owned model of media proposed by Gini Dietrich. Dietrich, G (2014) Spin Sucks: Communication and Reputation Management in the Digital Age, Chicago: Que

Pitch: This has two meanings in public relations. Practitioners are said to pitch stories to journalists, and consultancies usually win clients following a series of presentations known as a competitive pitch.

PRCA: UK Public Relations and Communications Association. Established in 1969 as the Public Relations Consultants Association it changed its name in 2016. Now more directly competitive with the CIPR.

Press pack: Traditionally, a set of documents provided to the media containing a mix of news releases, background information, executive biographies, photographs, product sheets etc. Most of this information is now made available online for press and public.

Problem recognition: An important step in public relations planning. What problem is public relations or communication being used to solve? The situation analysis should lead to a clear statement of the problem.

Propaganda: Information designed to persuade. Often used to discredit public relations and PR practitioners. There are academic models (see the Four Models of PR) that attempt to separate public relations from propaganda, but many commentators accept that propaganda, like public relations, can be used for good and for bad purposes.

Psychographics: Describes the attitudes and values of groups of people, as distinct from demographics which describes age, gender etc.

Public affairs: Specialist area within public relations that seeks to influence public policy through relationships with legislators.

Public opinion: An assessment of where the consensus lies on important questions.

Public relations: The process of managing relationships with key groups in order to establish and maintain legitimacy for a cause, individual or organisation. Public relations usually involves communication and aims for an enhanced reputation among key groups (employees, customers, shareholders, politicians, the media, activists etc).

Public sphere: The place where private opinions can be transformed into public opinion. Historically, this was a shared public space, but increasingly the media and social media provides a virtual space. The role of public relations in the public sphere was challenged by German philosopher Jurgen Habermas.

Publicity: The art of making things known. Tactics include publicity stunts and media relations. Publicity is usually considered part of public relations, but does not define the whole process which should be focused on attitude and behaviour change, not just awareness.

Publics: Scholars reject use of ‘the public’, so talk about publics (plural), stakeholders, constituencies etc. Publics are groups of people categorised by their position on an issue or problem.

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