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Letter: Public relations and propaganda are not interchangeable

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The editorial, University has a clear transparency problem, was  great.

Just one note, however, that I must raise with you in my capacity as a public relations educator, editor of the Journal of Public Relations Research and co-author of an internationally used textbook in public relations:

Please do not equate “public relations” or “PR” with propaganda or publicity. Yes, it’s done all the time, but incorrectly.

Professional and ethical public relations is about building and maintaining relationships between organizations and their stakeholders, something that SDSU is not doing well these days (as many would say). 

However, your editorial doesn’t use “public relations” in this sense. Rather, it is using public relations in the sense of propaganda, promotion and publicity — in which case using those words would be more accurate. 

Bey-Ling Sha, Ph.D., APR is professor and director in the School of Journalism and Media Studies.

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