The Public Relations Handbook

The Public Relations Handbook

The Public Relations Handbook

The Public Relations Handbook


In this updated edition of the successful handbook, a detailed introduction to the theories and practices of the public relations industry is given. Broad in scope, it traces the history and development of public relations, explores ethical issues which affect the industry, examines its relationships with politics, lobbying organisations and journalism, assesses its professionalism and regulation, and advises on training and entry into the profession. It includes:* interviews with press officers and PR agents about their working practices* case studies, examples, press releases and illustrations from a range of campaigns including Railtrack, Marks and Spencer, Guinness and the Metropolitan Police* specialist chapters on financial public relations, global PR, business ethics, on-line promotion and the challenges of new technology* over twenty illustrations from recent PR campaigns.In this revised and updated practical text, Alison Theaker successfully combines theoretical and organisational frameworks for studying public relations with examples of how the industry works in practice.


When first writing this book, my main aim was to provide a textbook which drew on the UK experience of public relations, having been frustrated during many years of teaching the subject that the majority of textbooks originated from and used case studies from the United States environment. Since the first edition was published, several other excellent textbooks have swelled the ranks of European-based sources. It is also rather ironic that I went to teach in the United States.

I wanted to bring together the theoretical and organisational framework of public relations with examples of how it worked in practice. This is not a 'how to' book. There are already plenty of books written by experienced PR practitioners which set out the nuts and bolts of writing press releases, producing internal publications and managing campaigns.

The first part of this book describes the context of public relations. Johanna Fawkes helps set out the history and development of PR and its role in society. Ian Somerville discusses the relationship between PR and politics that has led to the charge of spin doctoring being laid against the profession. Alastair Campbell's resignation and the Hutton Report showed how the messenger should not get in the way of the message. Anne Gregory describes the management role of PR and its relationship with other functions. Finally, the development of PR as a profession, its entry standards and ethics are described.

The second part looks at strategic PR. Emma Wood discusses corporate communication, image and identity. Public affairs and issues management are defined, together with the implications of the rise of pressure groups. Ian Somerville sets the practice of corporate social responsibility against the framework of ethical theories.

The third part looks at stakeholder PR - addressing specific areas of the economy. Keeley Clarke gives an updated introduction to financial PR, whilst Jo Chipchase and I examine elements of successful public relations on the internet. Media relations, including new media, internal communications, community relations and cause-related marketing and PR in the public sector, for consumer goods and in the business-to-business area are also detailed.

Finally, some crystal ball gazing in Part IV examines changing media and how that may affect PR practice. As this edition went to press, the Communications Bill 2003 had just received royal assent. The full implications of that are yet to be seen. The debate about the use of research and evaluation techniques is set out. Future challenges for the

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