What's the Difference Between Media Relations and Public Relations?
There are no stupid questions. Asking, "What's the difference between media relations and public relations?" is a fair question and one which we actually hear a lot.
Let's see what the definitions (Wikipedia) tell us:
-Media relations: involves working with various media for the purpose of informing the public of an organization's mission, policies and practices in a positive, consistent and credible manner. Typically, this means coordinating directly with the people responsible for producing the news and features in the mass media. The goal of media relations is to maximize positive coverage in the mass media without paying for it directly through advertising.
-Public relations (PR): is the practice of managing the flow of information between an individual or an organization and the public. Public relations provides an organization or individual exposure to their audiences using topics of public interest and news items that do not require direct payment. The aim of public relations by a company often is to persuade the public, investors, partners, employees, and other stakeholders to maintain a certain point of view about it, its leadership, products, or of political decisions. Common activities include speaking at conferences, winning industry awards, working with the press, and employee communication.
Did that clear it all up? If not, let me distill it down for you by offering my own point of view as a daily practioner of media relations.
Just as the definition states, media relations is all about working with the media (in most all forms) to help get the word out about the goings-on with an organization. In this day and age, the media includes what we traditionally think of (print, radio, and TV) as well as more modern forms (social media such as blogs, Facebook, and Twitter).
Similarly, as the definition states, public relations is all about connecting to people on behalf of an organization. These connections may involve media relations, but they also come from hosting events, serving as a special liaison at events or creating/managing an employee newsletter.
As you can see, public relations generally includes aspects of media relations and vice versa. There is little doubt as to why there is confusion between the two. Any more, it's likely that most organizations that practice one also practice the other. At Tech Image, we are a public relations company which specializes in media relations among other services.
What do you think separates media relations and public relations?