History Of Public Relations

The beginnings of Public Relations can be traced back in the first half of the XXth century, but different practices related to the modern concept of Public Relations have been recorded along the history. The famous 18th century Duchess of Devonshire, Georgiana Cavendish, is an important personality who practiced what we now call Public Relations. She used her natural born communication skills and charisma to support Charles James Fox using lobby, press relations and celebrity campaigning among her also famous friends.

In America, forms of Public Relations were identified within methods of promoting public spectacles such as circuses or theatrical performances by some publicists. Supporting the railroads was a field where public relations were strongly used in the US, the “cradle” of Public Relations.

As it happens today, in the past many journalists became Public Relations practitioners. Such persons were and are often criticized for using their insight know how to get media coverage for clients.

The first Public Relations practitioner was considered Ivy Lee, but the one who is believed to have founded the profession is Edward Bernays. Bernays was Sigmund Freud’s nephew and also student. On the other side of the Ocean, in the UK, the first Public Relations practitioner was Sir Basil Clarke.

Public Relations went through a considerable growth during the World War I. The Committee on Public Information or the Creel Committee, as it was also known, was the place to launce the first Public Relations professionals: Ivy Lee, E. Bernays, Carl Byoir and J.W. Hill. The Committee worked to create publicity in favor of the United States in the First World War.

1950 was the year when the first standards of the Public Relations profession were established. A Code of Ethics followed, embodying six code provisions and six core values. The provisions refer to Safeguarding Confidences, Free Flow of Information, Disclosure of Information, Competition, Conflicts of Interest, Enhancing the Profession. The values are: Honesty, Advocacy, Independence, Expertise, Fairness and Loyalty.

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