Public Relations: Concepts, Practice and Critique 1st Edition
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At long last fills a void in the landscape of text books on public relations theory and practice. This book is of immense value for students embarking on a public relations programme of study at the undergraduate or postgraduate level... The book’s core strength is that it develops critical thinking skills while exposing interdisciplinary approaches and providing a very solid foundation for lively debate and further study. -- Julia Jahansoozi
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1) This text approaches public relations from a critical perspective, which is refreshing because it helps students put the profession in perspective without evangelizing for the industry or apologizing for its limitations.
2) It has a format that encourages reflection and analysis. The first page of every chapter begins with a highlighted box entitled, "Before You Read A Single Word." This section asks several questions to help students determine their understanding of the chapter's key concepts before they begin reading. This makes it easier for them to realize what they have learned when they come to end of the chapter. Also, that same first page has a list of key concepts that the chapter covers and the final page of each chapter offers a short summary of the content along with suggestions for further reading.
3) Overall, this text is thorough and covers all of the ideas and concepts that are important in PR today.
4) The price is relatively reasonable (emphasis on 'relatively').
Now the not-so-good points:
1) The writing is dry, which is surprising given the creative format of the book.
2) The sequence of chapters doesn't make a lot of sense to me. For instance, "PR in Promotional Culture," one of the strongest chapters--and one that is seldom present in other PR texts I've seen--is one of the last in the text. I find that odd when an understanding of the pervasiveness of public relations, from personal PR to celebrity to brand, is the perfect place from which to introduce undergraduates to the features of this dynamic practice, or craft as we once called it.
3) While theory is essential, the text delves into theory at the expense of covering practical applications of public relations. It does have a good chapter on health communication and social marketing, and there is the requisite chapter on media relations, but the chapters on corporate communications are more about organizational behavior rather than the place of public relations in the management function and there is virtually nothing on the core skills such as writing and issues analysis.
Bottom Line: This text is useful and I will probably pull selections from it for a course packet that I plan to use the next time I teach an undergraduate PR survey course. But as a stand alone text, I don't think this cuts it. (But I should also say that I have never found a PR text that I did feel was a stand-alone, so perhaps others will find it more suitable.)
Top international reviews
The book is well written with some key insights, well formatted so that it holds your interest - unlike similar texts that can be a bit 'wordy' for the sake of it.
The true strength/benefit of this book, is that it helps you to think differently, provoking thought in different areas or ways of working that are easily transferable to the job.
I work in media and communications and have my team read this as part of their ongoing training, very handy book.