PR’s rhetorical inheritance

For values-based public relations, communicators can look to at least one educator from the ancient world for inspiration.


Compared with related disciplines such as advertising, public relations is a young profession infused with all the advantages and disadvantages of youth. Like many adolescents, public relations has some degree of freedom to chart its future – and, again like many adolescents, it seeks role models to imitate. One model that shows continuing promise is classical rhetoric.

Charles Marsh

Charles Marsh is the Oscar Stauffer Professor of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Kansas, USA. He is the author of Classical Rhetoric and Modern Public Relations: An Isocratean Model. Before becoming an academic, he was editor of American Way, the inflight magazine of American Airlines, and senior editor of corporate publications for JCPenney, a US-based retailer.