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Legacy Scholar Grant
The Page Center will award grants to support scholars and professionals making important contributions to knowledge, practice or public understanding of ethics and resposibility in public communication or other principles of Arthur W. Page.
Penn State Live
INTERVIEWER: The aim of the Arthur W. Page Center at Penn State and at the Arthur W. Page Society is to help individuals become counselors to leadership. How can individuals best prepare themselves for that role?
INTERVIEWER: I think that you have to some extent answered this next question already but I’d like to ask it discretely again. What do you see as the status of the counseling role of public relations in the corporate world today? Is it growing in importance or diminishing?
WRIGHT: Yeah, definitely growing. There’s no question that it’s growing. I don’t see how you can practice public relations without involving counseling. One of the weird things about public relations is that we tend to call everybody who does anything even slightly related to public relations, a public relations person. So the person promoting the circus is a public relations person, and then the person counseling the president of the United States on communication matters, also would be referred to as a public relations person. We don’t do that in law enforcement. We don’t look out the window right now and see somebody writing a parking ticket and call that person a lawyer, even though that individual is performing a legal job. And we distinguish…we have…on the legal side we have judges, and we have attorneys—actually we have prosecutors and defenders—we break these categories down so much. It’s the same thing within the other traditional professions. Certainly medicine, we could give all kinds of examples of that, and within divinity, the clergy and so forth and so on. You’ll have bishops and priests and deacons and all sorts of other types of titles. But in public relations—boy, anybody doing anything is classified as a public relations person. I don’t think that way. I think that to be involved in public relations, you must be involved in that part of the practice that involves research and planning and communication and then evaluation at the end of it. So I would take all of these one-way communication people; individuals who are only involved in media relations, only involved in event planning and so forth and so on, and I would call them publicists or I would call them press agents or something like that. And I would strongly argue that counseling is a very integral part of public relations.