For my book review, I ventured into the world of Public Relations (PR) with Making It in Public Relations: An Insider’s Guide to Career Opportunities by Leonard Mogel. In this career guide, Mogel describes the responsibilities of a public relations professional and examines various case studies of PR performed in the top PR firms. He speaks on the different practice branches of PR and profiles the top 10 largest PR firms. He also talks briefly about women in the PR world, interviews successful PR professionals, and even provides information on how to get a job in PR.
The day-to-day responsibilities of someone working in PR varies by practice area and organization, but Mogel asserts that almost all PR professionals will deal with client placement and publicity. Generally, PR professionals spend a lot of their time making sure their clients’ (positive) information makes it to the right media outlet at the right time. They diffuse crises, compose press releases, write speeches, arrange press conferences, and can even act as the spokesperson for an organization. They use rhetoric daily to ensure that the public (audience) sees their client the way their client wishes to be seen.
Model takes his audience through major corporate crises to illustrate how PR is used today, and all of his case studies are so obviously tied to the use of rhetoric. In fact, he devotes a whole chapter to crisis management, and the information he provides is directly related to the use of rhetoric. He provides Hill & Knowlton’s () 10 “Rules of the Road” (Mogel 221) and 6 out of the 10 rules arguably deal with the appeals. Crisis management is a careful balance of ethos, pathos, and logos, and good crisis management can save (and even advance) a company.
I am proud to report that women comprise more than half of PR employees, but Mogel laments that women are not nearly as prominent in positions of leadership. Mogel cites multiple sources claiming that gender no longer plays a role in the hiring process for PR, and that there may be more qualified women than men entering the field.
If you’re interested in working in PR, you’ll need at least a Bachelor’s degree, preferably in a program that builds strong communication, writing, and analysis skills (like English, and especially Rhet/Comp). It is also extremely helpful to achieve membership in a professional organization, such as the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) or the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC). These organizations not only shine on a résumé, they also provide members with development and networking opportunities.
Model specifically addresses salary, and most data suggest that the longer you work in PR, the more you’ll make. Salary depends heavily on the location and size of the firm, but the profession allows many opportunities for advancement for the motivated worker.
This book, while choppy and a bit difficult to follow, provided me with a solid foundation of PR knowledge. I’ve been focused on marketing as a career, but the information that Mogel provided has me rethinking my options.