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Lecture 11

04:189:102 Lecture Notes - Lecture 11: P. T. Barnum, Edward Bernays, Standard Oil

Communication and Informatio
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Public Relations
PR - A Definition
Public Relations refers to the total communication strategy conducted by a person, a
government, or an organization, with the intention of reaching and persuading an audience to
adopt a point of view.
Culture Industries
Public Relations - an important player in the culture industries, along with advertising,
news media, Hollywood, radio, magazines, theatre, art, etc.
Organizations and institutions that work like factories to produce a standardized and
uncritical understanding of our world (Adorno & Horkheimer)
Public Relations vs. Advertising
1. Message fixity & scope
2. Time lapse
3. Level of directness
4. Object of interest
Common ground? Persuasion!
PR: A Short History - 1800s
Press Agents & The Rise of Publicity:
Publicity - a type of PR communication involving various media messages to spread information
about a person, a corporation, an issue, or a policy
Phineas Taylor Barnum & his “Greatest Show on Earth”
John Burke & team promote William F. Cody - aka “Buffalo Bill” (1883-1916)
1. The railroads - federal funding (subsidies)
Deadheading (junkets???)
Direct bribes
Lobbyists - audience of influence...
2. Controlling competition - the AT&T model
Vote buying
Third party editorials
Textbook writers
Company managers as community leaders
PR: A Short History - 1900s
1. Reporters and muckrakers investigate; citizens become media literate; changing public
attitudes toward big corporations
2. Ivy Lee
3. Edward Bernays - Engineering Consent
Ivy Ledbetter Lee aka Poison Ivy
Honesty & Directness
One of the first PR firms
Pennsylvania Railroad - first press release
Standard Oil Company (John D. Rockefeller) - 1914: photo opps; fact sheets
Edward Bernays
First to apply psychological and sociological research findings in PR practice
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