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PR And The Big Business Connection : BoardroomArts.com

PR And The Big Business Connection

In the early 1900s big business was the subject of scathing articles and books by such muckrakers as Upton Sinclair and Ida Tarbell. There were few industry spokesmen to respond, a gap soon filled by business writers who quickly saw that they could earn more as publicity agents than as journalists.

The use of publicity agents, the forerunners of today’s more sophisticated public relations practitioners, became common not only in industry, but also with unions, associations, and government. While publicity agents did much to open up the organizations they served, not everyone was pleased by their efforts to influence media coverage.

The government, for its part, was so distressed by the new practice of public relations that in 1913 it prohibited the hiring of publicity experts. To this day the government has vast armies of “information officers” but not a single “public relations” practitioner. (See 38, Part 1, U.S. Stat. 212)

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