Kirk Hazlett, writing a guest post on Deirdre Breakenridge’s blog, suggests that there is a difference between PR practitioners and professionals.
Rather than being interchangeable terms, Hazlett suggests that practitioners are the tradespeople of PR—they’re skilled in the craft of PR but act primarily at the tactical level. Professionals have the same skills as practitioners, but they go a level deeper. Professionals think more strategically and guide clients toward more effective communications in the long term.
Hazlett is accredited by, and a fellow of, the Public Relations Society of America. He’s no slouch in the industry, so he may be on to something. I’m not a fan of his choice of words, though.
In the context of the PR industry, I view “practitioner” and “professional” as synonyms.
What Hazlett calls a PR practitioner, I’d call a PR technician. Technicians primarily write, edit and produce public relations messages. What he calls a PR professional, I’d call a PR manager. Managers are responsible for planning and managing public relations campaigns.
Regardless of whether you’re a technician or a manager, you need to be able to see the big picture and think strategically in order to be effective in your role as a public relations professional.
What do you think? Is there a difference between PR practitioners and PR professionals?