The PR industry has been associated with propaganda, no more so than during the times of war used by dictators, when the messages communicated are based on ideals rather than reality. Criticism is often aimed at businesses and organizations that do not “practice what they preach”, or spin the story to include a heavily based opinion in favor of the message sender. Spin doctors- PR professionals representing political parties-are frequently criticized for their path in manipulating the truth or being economical with the truth.
In the United Kingdom there are certain laws to protect individuals who are exploited by these means. In the United Stated there is no protection. Cases of action being brought up against PR professionals are rare. Similarly, newspapers are treated with the same legal action for reporting stories, often promoted by PRs that are defamatory and may cause huge anxiety for those misrepresented.
Despite this reputation, the result of activities practiced by a small minority, there is much valuable work done by publicists who represent charities, businesses, political parties and public- sector organizations as well as individuals.
The charted status of the profession and the public debates around morality and mutual benefit has led to a valued profession with growing respect and strategic industry. The relationship between PRs and journalists is increasingly based on mutual respect, which much fluidity between professions. People with a background in journalism make up a large number of PRs as they look diversify and develop as communicators. Salaries and working conditions are often more favorable in the PR industry than for most journalists working in a media industry that is in decline as more of us turn to the internet to get our news.
Credibility and trust are paramount in good PR.
Communicated messages based on fact and the credibility of the Communicated messages based on the fact and the credibility of the message sender are crucial to effective PR. The audience, whether they are reading about you in a newspaper or on the internet, or are hearing you speak at an event or conference, must believe you have the authority, based on truths and trust, to engage in mutually beneficial relationship. As the communicator, you must recognize that gaining this trust is important to building mutually beneficial relationships with your audiences that will sustain positive outcome for your organization.