Public relations in an interactive age: the need for new practices, not just new media

Author: Jim Macnamara, University of Technology, Sydney
Published: 2009, Asia Pacific Public Relations Journal
Abstract: Much focus in industry and scholarly research is being placed on ‘new’ media and how these can be used in public relations practice. However, comparatively little attention is being paid to public relations practices in terms of whether Web 2.0 as a philosophy and way of practising, as well as a loosely described group of communication and media technologies, is being applied. This paper examines one of the major areas of public relations practice, media relations and publicity, and reviews current models and practices within the framework of Web 2.0 described by its leading architects and scholars as a ‘philosophy’ and a set of principles more than technologies. Analysis reported shows that there is a significant misalignment between public relations practices and contemporary theories and models of public communication, and particularly with conceptual shifts inherent in Web 2.0. It concludes by proposing a number of strategies for realigning public relations with changing public communication practices and the emergent mediascape.

Keywords: public relations, new media, Web 2.0, dialogue, interactivity, authenticity