Recurring crisis of credibility? The state of public relations in South Africa Communitas, 2011: 16(1)

RECURRING CRISIS OF CREDIBILITY?
THE STATE OF PUBLIC RELATIONS IN SOUTH AFRICA
Communitas
ISSN 1023-0556
2011 16: 15 – 31
Zarine Roodt*

ABSTRACT
This article is based on the notion that Prisa’s approaching 55th anniversary presents
an opportunity to reflect on the current state of public relations in South Africa – a state
of affairs brought into sharper focus by the substantive change in the country
subsequent to 1994’s new political dispensation. This qualitative field survey asked the
following research question: How do the presidents of Prisa who have served terms of
office since 1994 view the current state of public relations in this country? The
purposive sample resulted in ten respondents and an interview strategy was utilised to
elicit responses in terms of an interview schedule. The thematic analysis brought about
a two-fold picture: there appears to be increasing pressure on the public relations
industry from the outside, with a commensurate collapse from within the industry itself.
The article concludes that in many respects this study underscores the fact that not
much has changed in the public relations industry; therefore, one could argue that the
findings point to a recurring crisis of credibility in the South African public relations
industry.

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