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Discovering Public Relations

Discovering Public Relations
An Introduction to Creative and Strategic Practices

August 2020 | 400 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
Recipient of a 2021 Most Promising New Textbook Award from the Textbook & Academic Authors Association (TAA)

Discovering Public Relations
introduces students to the field of PR in a practical, applied, and hands-on way that prepares them for the modern workplace. Author Karen Freberg guides students through the evolution of contemporary PR practices with an emphasis on social media, digital communication, creativity, and diversity. Understanding that innovation alone can’t create success, Freberg shows students how to use, choose, and implement evidence-based practices to guide their strategic campaigns. The text will transform today’s students into tomorrow’s successful PR professionals by giving them the tools to think creatively, innovate effectively, and deploy research-backed tactics for successful campaigns.
Included with this title:

The password-protected Instructor Resource Site (formally known as SAGE Edge)
offers access to all text-specific resources, including a test bank and editable, chapter-specific PowerPoint® slides. Learn more.

Preface and Acknowledgments
About the Author
Chapter 1. An Introduction to Public Relations
What Is Public Relations?

How Do We Build Relationships in Public Relations?

Where Do We Find Public Relations in Action?

What Do We Do as PR Professionals?

How Do We Work With Professionals in Related Fields?

How Do We Use Storytelling?

Where Are We Headed?

Chapter 2. Historical Contexts and Today’s Practices
How Did the Field of Public Relations Begin?

How Do the Four Models Function?

Who Are the Notable Figures of Public Relations?

The Four Models Today: What Can Recent Campaigns Teach Us?

Why Study PR Practices, Research, and Theories?

Social Media: What Is Its Impact on Public Relations?

Chapter 3. Ethics and the Law
What Are Ethics and Ethical Conduct?

What Codes of Ethics Do We Follow?

Ethical Dilemmas: What Can Recent Campaigns Teach Us?

What Legal Matters Do We Need to Know About?

What Are Best Practices for Functioning Ethically and Legally?

Chapter 4. Diversity and Inclusion
What Do Diversity and Inclusion Mean?

How Diverse and Inclusive Is Public Relations?

What Benefits Do Diversity and Inclusion Bring to Public Relations?

What Best Practices Can Make Public Relations More Diverse and Inclusive?

Chapter 5. Research and Evidence-Based Practices
What Is Research? How Does It Function in Public Relations?

What Are Evidence-Based Practices for Research?

What Research Methods Do We Use in Public Relations?

What Are Best Practices for Conducting, Evaluating, and Applying Research?

Chapter 6. Branding
What Is Branding?

How Do We Support Clients’ Brands in Public Relations?

What Is a Personal Brand? How Do We Create One?

What Are Best Practices for Client and Personal Branding?

Chapter 7. Writing
What Does It Mean to Write for Public Relations?

What Types of Writing Do PR Professionals Compose?

What Are Helpful Tools for Writing in Public Relations?

Chapter 8. Strategic Campaigns
What Is a PR Campaign?

What Are the Steps for Conducting a Successful PR Campaign?

What Are the RACE and ROPE Models for Conducting Campaigns?

How Does the Strategic Model Benefit Campaigns?

How Does the PESO Model for Media Promote Campaigns?

Chapter 9. Audiences and Relationship Management
How Do We Identify Audiences?

Who Are Our Audiences? How Do We Interact With Them?

What Is Relationship Management?

Chapter 10. Creative Content
How Do Marketing Tools Connect Our Content With Our Audiences?

How Do We Describe and Share Content?

What Is a Message Strategy?

What Types of Content Are Best for Different Channels?

How Does Visual, Audio, and Multimedia Content Work?

What Are Best Practices for Creating Content?

Chapter 11. Management and Business Acumen
What Myths Exist Among Business and PR Academics and Professionals?

What Do We Need to Succeed in a Business Setting?

Whom Do We Work With in the Business Setting?

How Does Our Approach Benefit Business?

What Common Goals Do We Pursue With Business and Management?

What Are Best Practices for Conducting Business?

Chapter 12. Measurement and Evaluation
Why Are Measurement and Evaluation Important?

What Types of Measurement and Evaluation Do We Use?

What Methods Do We Use for Measuring and Evaluating?

What Metrics Do We Use to Evaluate a Campaign?

What Are Industry Standards for Measurement and Evaluation?

What Are Best Practices for Measurement and Evaluation?

Chapter 13. Careers
What Skills and Experience Do We Need to Work in Public Relations?

What Types of Careers Does Public Relations Offer?

How Do We Decide Where to Work?

What Are Best Practices for Building a Career in Public Relations?

Chapter 14. Specializations
Reputation Management: What Is It? How Is It Done?

Crisis Communication: What Is It? How Is It Done?

Influencer Marketing: What Is It? How Is It Done?

Global Public Relations: What Is It? How Is It Done?

Social Media Public Relations: What Is It? How Is It Done?

Entertainment and Sports Public Relations: What Is It? How Is It Done?

Nonprofit Public Relations: What Is It? How Is It Done?

Politics Public Relations: What Is It? How Is It Done?

Chapter 15. The Future
Where Are We Headed? What Are the Opportunities and Obstacles?

What Have We Learned So Far?

Who Are These Fine New Professionals? Meet Candice, Abbie, Michael, and Megan

What Are Best Practices for Advancing Your Future?



Instructor Resources

For additional information, custom options, or to request a personalized walkthrough of these resources, please contact your sales representative.

LMS cartridge included with this title for use in Blackboard, Canvas, Brightspace by Desire2Learn (D2L), and Moodle

The LMS cartridge makes it easy to import this title’s instructor resources into your learning management system (LMS). These resources include:

  • Test banks
  • Editable chapter-specific PowerPoint® slides
  • Sample course syllabi
  • Lecture notes
  • All tables and figures from the textbook 
Don’t use an LMS platform?

You can still access all of the same online resources for this title via the password-protected Instructor Resource Site.
Student Resources


The open-access Student Study Site makes it easy for students to maximize their study time, anywhere, anytime. It offers flashcards that strengthen understanding of key terms and concepts, as well as learning objectives that reinforce the most important material.

Discovering Public Relations is a cutting-edge, comprehensive, well-organized, and timely book that succinctly and methodically introduces students to the evolving and impactful field of public relations. To enhance learning and teaching, the author incorporates illustrations, case studies, current examples, learning objectives, and discussion questions in each chapter.”

Yahya R. Kamalipour
North Carolina A&T State University

“This text provides an exploration into the current and future state of public relations and how it is executed in an array of environments. While there is an emphasis on the history, the book uses this as a foundation to provide students with the background of the discipline so that they may have a more complete knowledge of how the discipline has evolved to its current state and its future direction.”

Denise Herd
Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis

Discovering Public Relations is unique with its focus on ethics, diversity, and game changers in the profession, and the textbook content provides a solid foundation for students that is rooted in cutting-edge public relations educational standards and current industry best practices.”

Jennifer Robinette
Marist College

"Freberg’s text is anchored in proven PR principles while exploring the evolution of the profession for today’s practitioner. The integration of social media principles and skills reflects the field’s contemporary development."

Melinda A. Booze
Evangel University

"Freberg has a clear understanding of the PR industry and how a college student learns new material— the best combination for authoring a textbook. The chapters are well organized, thorough and logical.”

Claire M. Regan
Wagner College

“This is a no-nonsense, easy-to-comprehend introductory PR textbook which takes complex concepts and makes them understandable and relatable for all students.”

L. Simone Byrd
Alabama State University

“Freberg’s textbook is one of her finest examples of bridging practice and theory, research and creativity. Her expertise and experience are on display in this text. Her tone is vibrant, and the content of the book provides a comprehensive and strategic overview of the industry and what it takes to be involved and engaged in modern-day public relations. This is one of the best introductory textbooks on the market."

Natalie T. J. Tindall
Lamar University

“This text provides an excellent mix of foundational elements for students getting started in public relations, with attention to diversity, social media, and thought-provoking discussion questions.”

Josie DeAngelis
Western New England University

“This text does more than introduce key concepts in PR; it encourages students to think about their own place in public relations - how to build and promote their own skill set to be successful in the industry.”

Courtney A. Barclay
Jacksonville University

“This is an excellent textbook! After using several texts during my 25 years of college teaching, I finally found a resource that gives my students everything they need to adopt a solid foundation in the world of public relations. I will no longer have to supplement the text I use with additional sources of information to thoroughly educate my students.”

Terry L. Hapney, Jr.
Marshall University
Key features
  • The text is aligned with guidelines from the 2018 report put forth by the Commission on Public Relations Education (CPRE).
  • Chapter-opening learning objectives identify what students should be able to accomplish upon completing the reading.
  • Infographics convey information to students in a visually appealing way that makes learning easier.
  • Game Changer features spotlight professionals in different areas of public relations who share their wisdom with the future generation of public relations scholars.
  • Building Your Brand exercises help students apply their skills from the chapter to build their own personal brand as a rising PR professional.
  • Building Your Portfolio activities allow students to apply what they have learned in the chapter to produce work that can be added to their digital or physical portfolio to show their future employers.
  • Summaries, key terms, and discussion questions at the conclusion of chapters allow students to review content to reinforce learning.
  • End-of-chapter APR Exam sections show how chapter content aligns with the Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) exam.

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