Charted Institute Of Public Relations

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2.1. What is public relations?

After establishing that the work carried out by the Tour de Yorkshire campaign team is situated within the promotional industries it is time to look at their main body of work- public relations. There is no universally accepted definition of public relations. What practical work is actually included in that term often differs from one PR agency to another. The Charted Institute of Public Relations explains in its definition that the occupation mainly deals with reputation management. They further clarify that it aims at “influencing opinion and behaviour” and “establishing goodwill” (CIPR). In the United States of America Grunig and Hunt’s (1984) interpretation of public relations work is the dominant definition.
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Weaver, Motion and Roper (2006) agree by explaining that people in today’s society often don’t know what their own interests are. Similar ideas can also be found in Heath’s (1992) rhetorical perspective of PR. He states that individual voices get lost in mass societies and that public relations helps the public with their choices by encouraging consumer behaviour and certain lifestyles. That argumentation implies that the Tour de Yorkshire team promoted the event with narratives that showed the public why they are interested in the event in order to assist the public with their lifestyle choices. However critical theories argue that the options offered by the promotional industries are in fact all the same and that individual choices are not individual any more (Davis 2013). In addition to that PR campaign decisions are often based on the expectations of media coverage rather than on what actually might provide the best decision-making information for the public (Davis 2013). That leads to the questions of how the press releases were constructed, what information was prominent in them and who was quoted in order to gain maximum attention. To sum this chapter up: the general understanding of public relations applied to this dissertation will be a combination of several definitions. Public relations is an organisational function that involves communicative …show more content…
L’Etang (2008:99) defines public opinion as “the overall consensus” and further clarifies that it can be seen as a sense of a general climate. The notion can generally be described as being the opinion that is dominant and that matters (Pieczka 2006). That understanding leads to the question as to what extend public relations work manipulates the public in order to gain a favourable opinion for its own agenda. In order to determine whether the public was in any way influenced by the use of persuasive communication techniques in the Tour de Yorkshire press releases it is important to clarify what this dissertation means by persuasion. For L’Etang (2006) persuasion is intertwined with the general notion of rhetoric, which she understands to consist of persuasive strategies and argumentative discourses. That conjunction will become important during the study of the rhetorical techniques used in the press releases in order to understand how certain messages were conveyed. Stiff and Mongeau (2003:4) define persuasive communication as “any message that is intended to shape, reinforce, or change the response of others”. They further point out that this presupposes intentional behaviour. Lippmann (1991) explains that all facts and stories in the media are subjected to personal preferences and personal opinion. He

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