Public Relations Society of America

Headquartered in New York, the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) is the oldest professional organization for people who practice a profession that is often misunderstood and misrepresented. Founded in 1947, PRSA evolved from regional meetings of practitioners and scholars to national status. Defining the field, creating ethical standards, and providing continuous development for members were top priorities. This entry first discusses the origins of public relations and then looks at the formation of PRSA, its growth and expansion, and its innovation and legacies.

Beginnings of a Field

Traditional historical accounts of the field of public relations locate its origins in the late 19th century and the use of what would be described now as press agentry. Accounts detail, for instance, how, in 1871, showman and ...

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