1)      Public Relations is SO much more than meets the eye.

Honestly, coming into the class, my perception of the Public Relations industry was somewhat skewed. Normally, when I thought of PR, I would think of those typical publicists we see on television shows or we hear about on E! when a celebrity makes a statement. I knew there was more behind PR than just that, but I didn’t realize the true various positions/responsibilities one can hold within the industry, whether it be management, marketing, crisis management, etc. The main thing I learned was the difference between an actual practitioner and a publicist. They are very different. To sum it up, I feel like a practitioner could be coined as more of a counselor, while a publicist is more of a manager. Both are very important but fall on different areas of the spectrum of PR. A practitioner does more 2-way communicating, while a publicist job is to just publicize the information to the mass media.

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2)      The Importance of Social Media.

Social media platforms are a HUGE part of company’s and organization’s today. Whether it be Twitter, Facebook, Blogs, websites, etc. an organization’s communication to its audience is vital to its success. These platforms allow organizations to communicate and allow feedback from its public. They can keep the public updated and get the word out about current campaigns or issues, as well as offer promotional/marketing strategies for the company. I guess I had always thought of Facebook or Twitter as a way to just stay updated on friends and celebrities, but I realize now the role they have in public relations.

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3)      The Importance of Writing. 

Thankfully, I like to write, but what I did not realize was how important proper writing skills can be within the field of public relations. Not just writing skills by themselves but also the proper writing techniques according to the writing task before you, such as when writing a press release. We had the opportunity to write a press release in this class, and I was thankful to learn the proper way to do so. Every speaker who came to speak to us stressed that if you didn’t like to write, you had picked the wrong profession. They told us to write as much as possible and to try to continue and improve on our writing skills. Although I knew PR held some form of writing, I did not realize just the role it does play within the industry. One can learn to do many things, but if they hate writing, they may want to consider changing their choice of job.

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4)      The RACE Process.

I knew of the RACE process from a previous media class, but I did not understand it in the depth and to the extent which we learned it this semester. Realizing how important all steps are understanding their application to PR was a huge learning experience for me. I was not aware of  just how crucial the research stage was and the importance it served, along with all the other steps which go into making a successful decision/producing a successful strategy.

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5)      How to Manage Conflict.

The conflict management cycle is a huge part of public relations. I had no idea what all was involved when it came to handling conflict or dealing with crises within an organization or company. Applying our knowledge of the cycle to the situation analysis we did for Thank You for Not Smoking was so beneficial to me. By using a real situation and understanding what steps were or were not taken, I was able to truly grasp how the stages of the cycle and the cautions which should be taken with each. I feel as if in my career of working in public relations, there will be some type of conflict to arise, and having this knowledge/applied situational context will greatly help me in making decisions and knowing what to do or not do. I may encounter people pointing fingers, making accusations, and degrading my organization. As a good PR professional, I have to know how to handle the conflict.

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