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The image of the public relations industry is not a positive one. This image was created through a variety of reasons including: a lack of standardization in the field, misrepresentation in the media and misuse of the term public relations, among other things.

One of the main reasons for the negative perception of the public relations profession is that some people do not consider public relations to be a profession at all. "Many don't see this as a profession, so they don't identify with promoting ethics and other issues reinforced by professional associations."

A main argument against labeling public relations as a profession is that there is no set standard for the industry. The only thing that may come close is the code of ethics offered by the Public Relations Society of America, which will be discussed further in the ethics section.

Also, public relations is one of the few occupational groups that cannot control entry into the field. Rigorous academic training, such as is required in law and medicine, is not required to practice in the industry and there are not many universities that offer degrees in PR.

"The leading PR programs are at smaller schools," said Don Wright, a PR professor at the University of South Alabama. "That doesn't give us the same clout as it would if they were found at Yale, Harvard and Princeton."

But unlike the standards of other professions, public relations certificates are voluntary.

Without standardized education and mandatory accreditation, the reputation of public relations as a whole is determined largely by the actions of its individual practitioners.

Joanne Killeen, president of PRSA, said practitioners must be careful not to contribute to the already ailing industry. "It's like the customer who has an unsatisfactory experience at a store and then goes out and tells all her friends," she said. "Just one bad experience will reinforce the folklore legend of people in our business being out to lunch."

 


One of the main reasons for the negative perception of the public relations profession is that some people do not consider public relations to be a profession at all.

 

 

 

 

 

 


To establish credibility for the industry, organizations like PRSA promote their accreditation system.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   
   

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