New PR Definitions and a Great Conversation

by PR Coach

PRSA seeks modern definition for new era of public relations

Yesterday, The New York Times columnist Stuart Elliot previewed a campaign by the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) to create a new, modern, more meaningful definition of public relations.

Launched today, PRSA hopes to crowdsource a new definition for public relations by the end of this year (2011) and launch it early in 2012.

That’s ambitious and I hope they meet this timeframe because a renewed definition of PR is sorely needed in this age of social media. Incredibly, the current PRSA definition was formed way back in 1982!

On its website, PRSA Chair Rosanna Fiske said the profession needs “A modern definition for the new era of public relations.”  You can read the full announcement by David Rickey, Chair of PRSA’s Definition of Public Relations Task Force here.

I’m jumping in early with my own definition of PR which I submitted earlier today:

“Public relations monitors, creates, manages & leads conversations with key individuals & communities, connecting for mutual understanding and relevance.”

The most important words are: conversations, connecting, mutual understanding and relevance. In my view, they reflect our most important role in this era of social media.

I’m certain that PRSA will be unable to resist! Plus, submissions are anonymous and I want to be on record.

You can play your part in redefining “public relations” by adding your own definition before Dec 2, 2011 at the PRSA website. You don’t have to be a PRSA member to participate. It’s open to all.

The best submissions will be reviewed by a committee of eminent PR peeps, a short list prepared, presented for voting online and a new definition chosen by year end.

My view is that even if the new definition is not perfect, anything will be better than what we have at the moment. What do you think of PRSA’s effort? What’s your definition? Comments welcome!

Here’s what a few others are saying about PRSA’s new initiative so far:

Redefining Public Relations in the Age of Social Media – Stuart Elliot, The New York Times, Nov 20, 2011
PR Groups Collaborate to Redefine PR
PR Newser, Nov 20, 2011
PR Redefined
– Peter Himler in Forbes, Nov 21, 2011
PRSA creates task force to redefine PR
PR Week, Nov 21, 2011

Here are several of my recent posts on the PR profession for further reading:

Will That Be Value or Values with Your PR?
Ten PR Truths: How Do You Measure Up?
Public Relations: Great or Gone in 7 Seconds?

PR: What’s the Most Important Question? 

We’ve got lots more resources in the PR Library on strategic PR, the PR Profession and 28 other topics. You can also sign on to our blog or get our RSS Feed directly to your favorite reader.


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