Introducing Public Relations: Theory and Practice
by Keith Butterick
240 pages, Sage, 2011
Introducing Public Relations: Theory and Practice has been primarily written for first year PR undergraduates and those who may be considering PR as a future career.
This book reads very “current” with its tone and the way of writing. Butterick links his points to current affairs and employs many examples to ensure the readers have a better understanding of the topics from which they can easily relate to.
The author has managed to capture readers’ attentions by using simple and straightforward language in the book and has successfully explained the theories without using industry jargon.
The book splits into two parts; Part One consists of theories and histories and Part Two gives readers insights into PR practices. In Part One, Butterick covers the theories and various PR models to give a good general understanding and knowledge to the readers. He questions the role of publicity and whether PR is about reputation management.
However, as a book published in 2011, Butterick does not cover the social media side of things in any depth although he did touch on the subject on a few occasions by acknowledging the importance of social media and how the industry is shifting rapidly towards it.
Like many other books, it consists of PR practitioners’ interviews to give readers a view of the life working in the PR industry rather than the glamorised image that has been portrayed in films and television.
Part Two of the book will most likely answer any of the concerns students may have and most will find something of interest. Butterick gives real life insights into PR as a profession and as a job. The book includes diaries of various PR practitioners to give readers an overview of what practitioners do every day when they are in the office. Butterick explores the differences between the roles of in-house, consultancy and third sector PR. The book has also managed to highlight the importance of each role, questioning the common perception that working for consultancies is more challenging than working in-house or for charities.
Butterick acknowledges the controversies surrounding the PR industry; the public do not trust PR, PR never tells the truth, PR is all about image and many other off-putting comments. He openly discusses the negativity by exploring and explaining why people see PR as it is. By doing this he has allowed the readers, especially those new to PR, to understand these debates.
Butterick does not give the usual “spin” on the industry or the profession as something that can and will earn you lots of money. He tells it as it is – long working hours, high pressure, people leaving the industry after a short few years.
The book ends nicely with a chapter, “Where PR (and you) can go next”, giving useful advice and tips to students on what to do in the industry and what should they be aiming to do during the rest of their time at university.
To summarise, Introducing Public Relations: Theory and Practice is a good introductory book. However, further reading is required to gain a wider perspective on PR from different authors.
Chloe Berry is a PR student at Leeds Metropolitan University who is on work experience with Brass. You can catch up with her tweets.
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