PR History

The origin of the concept public relations, as well as of the PR professional practice is a key element of my research in this field. I have studied the work of individuals and organizations pioneers in planning communication strategies to reach specific target audiences. Although public relations is normally regarded as an American invention, I have found interesting precedents in some European countries, above all Italy and Germany. In this last country, for instance, the Krupp family was developing systematic communication strategies to reach national and international audiences during the first half of the 19th century. They designed two different, but parallel discourses addressing the German and the international public opinion. The Krupp-Werk was also pioneer in doing PR for internal audience. Alfred Krupp, the patriarch of the family, realized that a friendly work atmosphere would improve the productivity of his employees.

Especially interesting is the development of the World’s Fairs during the 19th century. This series of colossal pseudo-events represents one of the landmarks in PR history.