wsj-ipad-appThe Internet has redefined both journalism and public relations.  In a little more than a decade, both disciplines have changed drastically and, one could argue, have become increasingly aligned.

Defining PR in the digital age is especially tricky: just as anyone who “publishes” on the Internet seems to have the right to call themselves a journalist, so too does anyone who promotes something online have the ability to call themselves a PR person.  And, to make things even more complicated, a blogger can be either a journalist or a publicist – or both!  The erosion of traditional media and the emergence of electronic media have affected both journalists and public relations practitioners.

But, there is a common denominator between the PR of the past and “the new PR.” Here is blogger Michele Pariza Wacek who explains the complicated relationships between these two disciplines:  “PR is the art of getting someone else to write or talk about you or your business. Preferably in a favorable manner. Traditionally, “someone else” was the media. In this day and age however, someone else can also be a blogger, a freelance writer, an e-zine publisher or even an owner of a big Web site.”  So true – it’s not all PR and not all journalism.

Where Michele kept her definition of PR exceedingly simple, blogger Heidi Cohen decided to offer 31 definitions in a recent blog post.  Here are a few of the highlights with their authors credited

  • Today’s PR Professional understands the intersection of content, social technologies and marketing in ways that achieve common PR objectives: credibility, thought leadership, and influence. It’s less about managing information flow and pushing content – and more about creating content, networking and engagement. Lee Odden – TopRank Online Marketing
  • When played from a place of passion and purpose, public relations in the new world will not only take social media, branding and marketing to the next level, but will elevate the people and products that are changing the world. Renee Blodgett – Magic Source Media
  • Search engines, social networking sites, and video sharing communities have redefined PR and put the “public” in public relations. I define PR as “the practice of managing communications between an organization and its publics.” This definition is elastic and permits PR professionals to make other necessary changes in the future. Greg Jarboe – SEO-PR
  • Public relations is the art and science of sharing genuine, credible, relevant news and information to grow, maintain and protect brand acceptance, awareness, reputation and sales, when appropriate. Public Relations creates measurable, fact-based conversations, events and activities conceived to generate positive, third party endorsements and target audience buy-in. Deborah Weinstein – Strategic Objectives