A public is any group of people tied together by some common factor.
In his book The Mass Media, the late Stanford professor Bill Rivers describes the endless variety of publics in this way:
"There are as many publics as there are groups with varying levels of income, education, taste, and civic awareness; as many as there are groups with different political allegiances, different religions and so on. What concerns and convinces one public may seem trivial to another. Furthermore, the definition of each public is never static; it changes as the issues change."
The groups that are considered most important in a public relations communications effort are called target publics or priority publics. Choosing the correct channels of communication to get a message across to the target publics is often a challenge. Each medium has characteristics that make it suitable for sending a particular message to a particular audience at a particular time.
Channels of Communication
- Specialized media, usually for internal use only, is designed for a particular audience such as internal publications that institutions produce to communicate with employees, staff, management and other stakeholders.
- The mass media is usually used when communicating with external publics or to reach large audiences that include both internal and external. The mass media include magazines, books, newspapers, radio, television and the Internet.
- Channels also include individuals, especially an organization's spokesperson. The communicator is usually involved in person-to-person or person-to-group interactions, including speeches and meetings.
Copywright 2001, Sheila E. Fridman, Gainesville, Fla.
This site was last updated Wednesday, April 19, 2001.
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