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Public relations

Effective PR is crucial in today’s culture, especially given the media saturation. Public opinion and image now account for a lot in the increasingly influential social media realm. PR is the art of making organizations look good. Professionals normally work in the background with research on public opinion, courting of journalists, and sending press releases (Gregory 2). This is done to position their employers as ethical, concerned, and positive role models. I recently talked to Tatiana Soprano, the PR manager at Ritz Carlton in Biscayne, Florida. She clarified that, while it is difficult to separate advertising from public relations, advertisers seek to sell products and PR focuses on shaping the image of that product. Whereas marketing uses targeted communication and research to attain their desired action, she says, PR professionals seek to get unpaid for publicity in the media. By cultivating relationships with journalists and reporters, PR can be used as an effective marketing tool although it has a disadvantage in that it does not complete the information process. This paper will cover the work of a professional PR manager and the way they handle the press. One question, which I asked Miss Tatiana, was what exactly a PR professional does. She intimated that PR professionals actually work in order to access free publicity for their client. Earlier on, this was handled by sending a press release to journalists that included information required in writing a story on the hotel in a positive way. This was easy since the local media were always looking for story ideas with a human twist in them. In this connection, the PR professional would craft a press release that would make a compelling story for the news. When she came to work at Ritz Carlton, she spent time cultivating a relationship with local journalists after seeking out those who wrote about the hotel industry. She called up some of them to discover more about what type of stories he or she was searching for, as well as how they preferred to receive their story pitches. A journalist is always more likely to consider a release that is timely, fresh, from a solid source, and specifically targeting their interests (Gregory 20). As PR manager, she also had to create a media kit, since journalists could request a press kit to follow up the press release. The kit is inclusive of all details that the journalist could require to understand the hotel’s business and vision. These include photos, quick facts, executive profiles and recent press releases. While in a perfect world, the hotel never makes mistakes and the media never comes asking for information, instances when they do leave Miss Tatiana and her department as the banner men at the front of the battle. She joked that all she spent her time doing was craving the attention of the media during the good times, but when things went south, she tried to escape the media as much as possible. This is where the aforementioned crisis management plan comes into play. In cases where the media misrepresents the hotel, such as when the Ritz’s rooms were claimed to be meeting points for drug lords, Tatiana used an Op-ED piece to tell the hotels side and submitted it to the newspapers. Thankfully, her contacts ran the story. If they had failed, then I would have had to write an advertorial and pay for it, she intimated. However, this would have made them look guilty, especially given that most papers in the region insist on titling advertorials as Advertisements. This led me to an important question regarding the importance of technology to PR professionals. Tatiana admits that while the email made things easy for sending releases to many journalists just by the click of a button, this had led to a rise in spam (Kitchen 43). This meant that most journalists simply clicked delete before even reading the press release. Yet another technological advance that had an impact on the profession was the web. Websites are a good way of