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What’s in a name? Everything. The appropriateness of ‘public relations’ needs further debate

Author(s): Elspeth Tilley

Journal: PRism Online PR Journal
ISSN 1448-4404

Volume: 3;
Issue: 1;
Date: 2005;
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Keywords: Public relations | communication management | reputation | debate

It is sometimes said that the debate about ‘public relations’ versus ‘communication management’ and/or any other terminology for our role has been had, past tense. But whether a debate has been properly conducted or not, the naming issues for public relations are not resolved. The profession’s own reputation remains a major concern with serious implications for practitioners, scholars, and therefore also for clients and businesses who use public relations services. Has public relations become a term misunderstood beyond redemption, its use tarnishing not only those who practise it or study it, but also those who purchase it? If so, what are the alternatives?This article suggests that, although idealistic, some more aspirational and prescriptive alternatives might be worth considering.
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