Gini Dietrich, Martin Waxman and Joseph Thornley talk about the PRSA’s initiative to develop a new definition of public relations on this week’s Inside PR.

The PRSA’s current definition: “Public relations helps an organization and its publics adapt mutually to each other.” The public is invited to suggest the elements of a new definition using a ” fill in the blanks”  form on the PRSA Website.

Joe isn’t sure that the PRSA’s “fill in the blanks” crowd-sourcing approach will yield the type of definition that truly reflects the enhanced role of PR in the era of social media.

Gini Dietrich suggests that whatever definition is adopted, it will only be useful if it can be readily understood by the general public. And she believes that right now most people believe that PR amounts to little more than media relations.

Martin argues that the public relations profession should define itself through the lense applied by Jeff Jarvis when he asserts that “In a world of publicness which allows us to connect to each other, to information to actions and to transactions, links, i.e. linking up, help us organize new societies and redefine our publics.”

Also in this week’s podcast, we continue to experiment with Google+. Gini Dietrich has set up the Spin Sucks page on Google+. Take a look at it and let her know what you think of it.


We’d love to hear from you.

Send us an email or an audio comment to [email protected], join the Inside PR Facebook group, leave us a comment here, message us @inside_pr on Twitter, or connect with Gini DietrichJoe Thornley, and Martin Waxman on Twitter.

Our theme music was created by Damon de SzegheoRoger Dey is our announcer.

This week’s episode was produced by Kristine Simpson.


  1. Hi all,
    Great discussion — beyond the Black Friday and Cyber Monday discussions — on the definition of public relations project initiated by PRSA. You mention our (Flynn, Valin and Gregory) definition that was written through the use of a wiki (http://definingpublicrelations.wikispaces.com/) was adopted by the CPRS board in February 2009. I encouraged the PRSA president to make use of our wiki to help others inform the discussion. I would encourage your listeners to visit the wiki to see how we arrived at our definition.
    Thanks for continued great work.

  2. thornley Author

    Hi Terry,

    Thank you for your comment and for your definition of PR. I know you put a lot of work into it and your use of the Wiki provided for intelligent input and discussion from the community of interest. I hope that the PRSA will broaden their approach along these lines. The resulting definition should then converge with the definition you developed.

  3. I devotedly entered the definition of PR we crowdsourced on my blog in April to the tag cloud project.

    Something of interest to note — comments to the negative asked why PRSA decided to launch this program during a holiday weekend with little fanfare.

    Not sure of any scuttle since they closed the project Dec. 2.

  4. When I entered my definition in the tag cloud project, I went to your site (and mine) to see what I could pull that we all agreed on. It certainly didn’t give us enough room to really redefine what we do. It’ll be interesting to see what comes of it.


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