About the Public Relations/Image Management Major
You're always into what's new and now, you've got a knack for organization and a flair for writing, and people always listen to what you have to say. If you're all that, with a soft spot for glitz and glamour, welcome to the fast-paced, results-driven, done-yesterday world of PR. If you'd like to be the person pulling the strings behind the scenes, a major in public relations -- PR for short -- may be just the ticket.
A public relations major focuses on the theories and methods for managing the media image of a business, organization, or individual and the communication process with stakeholders, constituencies, audiences, and the general public. Students are prepared to function as public relations assistants, technicians, and managers. Programs include instruction in public relations theory; related principles of advertising, marketing, and journalism; message/image design; image management; special event management; media relations; community relations; public affairs; and internal communications.
To land that first job out of college, you'll need a portfolio of articles, scripts, presentations, and other work that shows off your skills.
Creating an image is one thing, but promoting it is another. In many of your courses, like PR writing, you'll learn how to promote and protect your clients through the use of images. The core classes will introduce you to a wide range of professional techniques. You will learn how to write press releases and public service announcements, and how to secure TV and radio interviews. You'll study elements from many other fields, including psychology, philosophy, languages, business, art, and many others. You will also learn how to analyze public opinion and various research studies in order to determine what the public relations needs are for a certain organization. Problem solving and strategic planning abilities go a long way in the field of public relations.
An internship is a highlight of the public relations major and in most cases is required for graduation. Many programs require students to participate in an internship because it is a great way to see the world of public relations from the inside.