P.R. Primer

If you highlight the words "public relations" in a Microsoft Word document and click Thesaurus, the following list of "synonyms" pops onto your computer screen: "propaganda," "promotion," "public image," "favorable climate," and "advertising." Bill Gates may think of public relations in those terms, but p.r. practitioners take a different view. Judy Pehrson, director of external relationships at the Council for the International Exchange of Scholars in Washington, D.C., which administers the federal government's Fulbright Scholar program, defines public relations as "strategically managing your relations with your various publics. They might be employees, customers, investors, the community, the media, and in some cases, the general public." An organization's "publics" are "those groups you need to get information to regarding your business," says Catherine Bolton, president and chief

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