Public Relations: Fact vs. Fiction

Updated: Feb 27, 2019


We’ve heard it all before: If you choose public relations because of a movie or television show, you picked the wrong major.


I first heard this while sitting in one of my classes when the professor asked each student why they chose public relations as a major. As a result, multiple students answered they had first learned, or even chose to pursue, this career because of what they had seen in their favorite movies or TV shows. Was I also guilty of this? 100 percent. Before I realized what public relations truly was, I had already unknowingly developed a perception of it through various characters I had seen representing the career.


Olivia Pope from “Scandal” was the first character that I had ever seen portray this career in a television show. The fashion, the extravagant events and the way every problem seemed to be magically resolved showed me what, I thought, public relations was like.


Television shows can paint a picture of public relations that revolves more around the glamour of living in lavish cities and attending events than the actual work that it entails. I learned a lesson that every young adult must one day learn — what Hollywood produces is not the same as reality. It is a tough pill to swallow, I know.


Public relations is vastly different than the way it can been represented in the film and entertainment industry. While exciting events and business formal attire may be involved, public relations is much more than that. In reality, this career includes long hours and requires one to be proficient in writing, strategic thinking and crisis communication.


Public relations is about protecting a client through various communication tactics. PR professionals build long-term relationships with not only their clients, but with their client’s publics. They help shape public perception of a brand or organization.


The next time someone asks you if public relations is like what they’ve seen on Netflix or in theaters, you can explain that it is much more than that … and better.


Written by Skyler Brown, publications committee member.


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