PR Groups Collaborate to Redefine PR

The PRSA has teamed up with 10 other PR organizations including the National Black Public Relations Society, the Arthur W. Page Society, and the Canadian Public Relations Society on a campaign, “Public Relations Defined,” which seeks to develop a modern definition of “public relations.”

The campaign got a write-up in today’s New York Times, with Stuart Elliott pointing out that previous attempts to define PR failed, leaving this: “Public relations helps an organization and its publics adapt mutually to each other.”

A website has launched to crowdsource keywords from the industry. There’s also a hashtag, #PRDefined, for thoughts submitted via tweet.

And another PRSA page puts forth the various definitions and commentary that are already out there, like this one from Jack Shafer at Slate: “Most PR campaigns are ‘smear campaigns.’ … “Every reporter approached by PR firms knows that the primary focus of PR firms is to push lies. If PR people were being paid to push the truth, they’d be called reporters.”


Work began on September 29; submissions for the definition will be accepted starting today through December 2; and voting will begin on December 6. We’ll have a new definition at some point during the end of December.