A freshman’s thoughts on public relations

Jessica Finkel, public relations student, reads The Independent Florida Alligator newspaper. She began her first year of college in August 2015.

Jessica Finkel, public relations student, reads The Independent Florida Alligator newspaper. She began her first year of college in August 2015.

By Jessica Finkel

For my first semester as a public relations student, finding out what public relations means has been a challenge. I went ahead and asked a couple of students outside of the major what they believed public relations was. As you’ll read, their views were very contrasting.

“I think public relations is being able to analyze pop culture trends and understand the specific culture of an area, so you can cater to them what you’re trying to put onto them based on public opinion,” said behavioral and cognitive neuroscience freshman Natalie Dozier. “It’s the initial act of figuring out what fine tuning needs to be done.”

What is public relations?

Public relations, one of the most misconstrued majors at any college. Typically, most people would respond, “Don’t you work for celebrities?”

My response to that is yes and no. We are not just the janitors of some celebrities, cleaning up their messes. We are that and more.

For those who don’t know, public relations practitioners are the people who advocate the image of a company. They develop strategies and tactics that include press releases, social media management and implement advertising campaigns.

Those who graduate with a major in public relations can find a job in almost any field, from corporate to small businesses and even start their own firm.

What? A person can make a living by opening their own public relations firm? Yes! What a crazy concept! There are multinational public relations firms that represent their clients by managing their brand.

As a first semester public relations student, I don’t have a definitive meaning for the major. But it’s an adventure I am willing to take.

Some television shows and movies portray this profession as an easy job that is done during a 9-to-5 shift, such as “Sex in the City” and “Thank you for Smoking.” In reality, public relations professionals are always working. Those who work in this job constantly brainstorm of new product placements, advertisements and ways to get certain people out of trouble. For public relations professionals, the work never stops, but they still love it anyways.

A job within the communications field can range from the entertainment industry to nonprofit organizations. They develop strategies to launch a new product and shed light on its information.

As a first semester freshman, we might not know what we’re doing 100 percent of the time. What matters is that we continue thinking of new ideas and continue working to show people that we’re not all about working for celebrities, but in fact our profession can be so much more.

So far in my investigation, this is the best definition I have found from a non-public relations major.

“I think the field’s main purpose is to relay information between what they’re representing and the people, so people can have a better understanding of what’s going on,” said landscape and architecture senior Ryan Mulroy.

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