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An investigation of techniques and functions used by public relations practi-tioners at agencies in Durban, South Africa
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This study investigates the techniques and functions used by public relations (PR) practitioners at agencies in Durban. Although PR techniques and functions are known, there is a lack of research on how they are being applied and how they assist current PR practitioners in conducting their activities. Using the constructivist approach and the reflective paradigm of PR as a conceptual theoretical framework, this research aims to provide a view of how the PR techniques and functions are being employed today as well as report back on current trends. Through interviews with various PR agencies in Durban, the findings revealed that practitioners are applying the tech-niques and functions correctly for the most part. However, the media landscape is changing and is affecting the role of the PR practitioner by demanding they play a larger role in creating journalistic content. In addition, the changes in the digital media space require PR practitioners to apply new tactics to keep up with the fast develop-ment, especially when it comes to working with influencers. Although the practitioners believe PR is perceived as a legitimate industry, it is still regarded as a marketing tool. A shift is required in this regard as this signifies that PR may not necessarily be seen as a standalone industry by corporate organisations. To improve the current state of PR, practitioners need to conduct adequate environmental scanning and research in order to gain access to the decision-making table and prove PRs value to senior management.