Public relations takes on an interesting role in the government. It is similar to public relations in the private industry because they essentially perform the same functions. The practice of public relations is broadly represented throughout government as they use persuasion through effective communication. Government agencies and appointees interact with the press on a daily basis to share information with their publics and manage their relationships with them. They use the media to communicate and make announcements just like in the private industry. The government and their commercial counterparts use the same skills and techniques to accomplish the same goal; to create a favorable public image in the media.
However, there is also a big difference between public relations in the government and in the private industry. It is technically illegal for political appointees to use publicity and public relations to promote their policies. However, this does not stop them from performing public relations activities. Instead of calling them public relations professionals, they are called public affairs experts, information officers, press secretaries, communication specialists, or something similar. Even though they have different names, they do the same things that public relations professionals do in the private industry.
The White House Press Secretary is a great example of public relations in government. The current White House Press Secretary is Sean Spicer. While he is not technically called a public relations professional, his job requires all the skills and techniques that public relations professionals use. His job is to communicate the policies and practices of the administration, specifically the president, to the public. Pretty much every day, he holds a press briefing where he talks to the media and the public. His job is to manage the relationship between the president and the public. This is just like what public relations professionals do when working at a company.
Sean spicer has received some criticism for his performance as the White House Press Secretary. Back in January, he was actually rebuked by the Public Relations Society of America after making statements about President Donald Trump’s inauguration crowd size. The PRSA accused him of encouraging and perpetuating alternative facts, which they felt reflected poorly on all communications professionals. They felt he was deliberately misrepresenting information and stated that honest, ethical professionals never spin, mislead, or alter facts.
The White House Press Secretary has one of the most high-profile public relations jobs in the world. Dealing with the media and hundreds of reporters is no easy task. It is a very difficult role, and it is almost impossible to do it satisfactory. Nevertheless, the White House Press Secretary has immense power to influence the public.
Public relations has a huge presence in government just like it does in the private sector. Although it does not go by the same name, it is just as important. Through communication, elected officials and government agencies work to maintain their relationships with their publics just like public relations professionals do at corporations.