Editorial Articles


Volume-7, 27 June -3 July 2020

Career as A public Relations Officer

Prof. Suresh Verma

Relations are the bondings that exist between entities that engage in society, business and world. This includes the relationships between family members, various stakeholders in any business and friendly nations. Relations are a collection of likeminded people, friends, teammates and acquaintances where people help each other equally and genuinely caring for the well-being and success of each other. We all have relations but some of us are smart in relationship building while others are more self centred.

For selecting your career, the most important thing is to explore yourself. Ask yourself some questions. Are you creative, extrovert, feel comfortable in interacting with people from all walks of life? Do you enjoy working under pressure, are interested in news and happenings around you, have the power to analyze the information? Are you able to communicate clearly and tactfully? Do you feel yourself to be an expert in multitasking? If your answer to these questions is yes, then you can surely dream to become a successful Public Relations Officer.

Today in a competitive world, a Public Relations Officer is known by various designations like PR Specialist, Media Specialist, Communication Specialist, Corporate Communicator, Press Secretary, etc. The main function of a Public Relations Officer is to create and send messages to the target audience to establish a positive atmosphere for his organization. A PRO uses various media like Print, Radio, TV, Social media, etc to develop a good relationship and bond between an organization and its clients through various PR activities.

Four decades back, in 1978 during first world conference of public relation organizations in Mexico, it was said: "Public relation is the art and social science of analyzing trends, predicting consequences, counseling leaders in the organization and implementing a planned program of action, which will serve both the organization's interest and the public interest." As such Public relations (PR) is the means for organizations, companies, and individuals to communicate with the public and media directly or indirectly through various media to create and maintain a positive image and create a strong relationship with the target audience. The creation and maintenance of a good public reputation are not a simple process. Without an effective PR technique, it is very difficult to reach the attention of the public and powerful interpersonal techniques are required to influence their opinion and decisions. Herbert M. Beaus has rightly said, "Public Relations is a combination of philosophy, sociology, economics, language, psychology, journalism, communication and other bodies of knowledge into a system of human understanding."

Though public relations as a field is expanding at a great pace, we cannot deny an increase in competition at all levels in this career. But if you have capabilities, you can excel at any height. The demand for public relation officers is in every field - Government sector as well as private, Industrial as well as corporate, Political field as well as Sports, Service sector as well as in NGO sector.

The main functions of a Public Relation Officer are:

  1. Writing articles, features and Press Release for various mass media.
  2. Responding to the queries made by media and the public.
  3. Preparing speeches for the head of the organization and arranging interviews or press conferences etc.
  4. Holding media programs and managing media campaigns.
  5. Enhance the image of the organization and make publicity for its activities.
  6. Management of conferences, exhibitions tours, and other events.
  7. Analyze media coverage of their organization

 

Educational and Professional Qualifications

            Minimum qualifications for becoming a PRO is graduation from a recognized university or an institute and Professional degree or diploma in Public Relations. Some organizations treat a degree in mass communication as equivalent. Degree or diploma in Public relations trains students to design effective campaigns that influence public opinion through various skills such as writing press releases, giving public speeches and conducting research. 

 

Public Relations offer decent salary and good job offers in Commercial and industrial organizations, Consultancies, Advertising or marketing agencies, Government organizations, Manufacturers, Private firms and NGO & charity organizations.

 

In India, State governments have the Public relations department at district level. All the State Governments have PR Department which appoints Director (PR), District Public Relations Officer (DPRO) and APRO's. They not only inform the public about the policy and various plans of the State Governments but also inform the government about media’s feedback and reaction. They reach people through folk artists, news columns, features and advertisements on Radio, TV, and Print.

 

Today, we are living in an (ICE) age where Information, Communication, and Entertainment are at the center of our society. The internet has changed all parameters of communication in our life. Now every business is trying to build a presence on the digital media. As such PROs must learn new technology and tools of communication as traditional methods cannot produce results in this digital technological society. Therefore, PROs must implement online tools and tactics, including social media such as blogs, content publishing, podcasts, etc.

 

PRO not only works in establishing a good reputation which directly influences the image of their organisation but also plays an important role in times of crisis. When some angry employee starts spreading unpleasant rumors about your organization, the public does not know the true story behind it and if you do not react, they may think that the rumors are true. Here, you need someone who reacts quickly and efficiently to at least minimize the damage. And that someone can only be a person who can think and act fast under pressure as well as communicate well with the public and media - A SMART PRO.

 

The most important trait required for PRO is vision and creative thinking. Besides it needs a good imagination, personal confidence, sensitivity to other people and good planning. This field is a mixture of journalism, mass communication, sociology, psychology, and advocacy. He or she has to update with the ever-changing technology and new media. Today, in the age of digital technology, all markets and market tactics are transforming. Media like radio, television, print and outdoor display are changing and its place is being taken by the internet and social media resulting in new venues for interactive communication. As a result, public relations have got innovative methods to reach the masses. Practitioners of Public Relations must reinvent themselves with new tools, innovative skills, and latest information to provide ideas that transcend the media relations.

 

Following are some of the academic institutions offering diploma and degree in Public Relations:

  • One year Post Graduate Diploma in Advertising and Public Relations from Indian Institute of Mass Communication, New Delhi iimc.nic.in
  • Two years of Master's Degree in Public Relations from Dept. Of Communic-ation and Journalism, Mumbai University, Mumbai, Maharashtra.                              dcjmumbai.mu.ac.in
  • Two years Masters in Advertising and Public Relations from Makhanlal Chaturvedi Rashtriya Patrkarita Evam Sanchar Viswavidyalaya, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. mcu.ac.in
  • Two years Masters in Advertising Management and Public Relations from Guru Jambeshwer University of Science and Technology, Hisar, Haryana. gjust.ac.in   
  • Two years Masters in Advertising and Public Relations from Kushabhau Thakrey University of Journalism and Mass Communication, Raipur, Chattisgarh. ktujm.ac.in
  • One year Post Graduate Diploma in Public Relations from Dept. of Mass Communication, Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh. amu.ac.in
  • One year Post Graduate Diploma in Advertising and Public Relations from Panjab University, Chandigarh. puchd.ac.in
  • One Year Certificate Program in Advertising Management and Public Relations from Mudra Institute, Ahmedabad. mica.ac.in

 

(The list is indicative only)

The author is a Senior Faculty at Mass Communication Research Centre, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi, e-mail: skverma@jmi.ac.in  

Views expressed are personal Images Courtesy : Google