PublicityPublicity is unpaid communication to a public with a specific objective. Thus, publicity is any news concerning an individual or organization. It may involve newspaper articles, television and radio programmes, personal appearances, or any other method which enables an individual or organization to place a message or create an impression without payment. To the extent that publicity must rely mainly on the cooperation of
disinterested parties (newspaper editors, radio announcers, television station managers, etc.) it cannot be called planned communication in the same sense that advertising is planned, because paid advertising virtually insures communication, whereas publicity does not.
It is well to distinguish between publicity and news. These two-publicity and news-are non-identical twins. The main difference is that, whereas publicity is written from the standpoint of those who want to make something known; news-a timely record of what people think and do-is written from the standpoint of those desiring to be informed. Indeed, though publicity is usually sought in order to sell-whether it be cheese, a politician’s qualification for office or a movie star’s box appeal-the message through which the “sale” is made often carries enough news value to warrant its publication as news. Advertising rarely contains such news value. In reality, combinations of the various elements often occur. For instance, information that a pharmaceutical company has flown a vial of medicine in its own plane to save the life of a dying child in another country is certainly good publicity; it may be news; it could be told as advertising. It is good for overall public relations, and indirectly, it may well increase the sale of the firm’s products.