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PR is no circus

PR is no circus

By Stephanie Tillman, Intern

On day one of my first Public Relations class at Penn State, my professor decided to talk a little about the ways of P.T. Barnum. Barnum, of Barnum and Bailey Circus, was known back in the day for staging elaborate shows to trick his public and the media into believing what he wanted them to. By doing so, Barnum became known as one of the first practitioners of PR.

Today, publicists have to do things a little differently. They can’t trick others into believing what they want them to believe. With the Internet and other types of technology, there is no doubt that their audience would find out. It would just be a matter of time. So the question that stands: what really makes up Public Relations nowadays? In the business world today, PR isn’t exactly like a circus and there’s more to it then what many people think; so here are some facts about what Public Relations isn’t:

PR is not just about showing a company in its best light. The job of a publicist today can consist of giving the media and the public a better knowledge of how companies work and what they do. They also provide feedback from the public and the media to the company to help the company benefit.

PR is not just twisting and spinning things to make them seem better. If a company keeps getting into bad situations, there’s only so many times PR can help. If that company needs their wrongdoings to continuously be turned around, then they don’t just need help with publicity.

Finally, Unlike P.T. Barnum and his circus stunts, PR is not all glamorous. TV shows and movies give PR this made-up image that consists of what seems like attending events and partying with their clients. If only Samantha Jones from Sex and the City knew that she actually needed to do work and put in long hours (like the people here at Fusion), maybe then I’d believe that she was an actual publicist!

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