Public Communications Officer

Alternate Titles: Public Relations Specialist, Communications Specialist, Media Specialist


Public Communications Officers serve as advocates for clients seeking to build and maintain positive relationships with the public. Their clients include businesses, nonprofit associations, universities, hospitals, and other organizations.  As managers recognize the link between good public relations and the success of their organizations, they increasingly rely on Public Communications Officers for advice on the strategy and policy of their communications.

Public Communications Officers handle organizational functions, such as media, community, consumer, industry, and governmental relations; political campaigns; interest-group representation; conflict mediation; and employee and investor relations. Public Communications Officers must understand the attitudes and concerns of community, consumer, employee, and public interest groups to establish and maintain cooperative relationships between them and representatives from print and broadcast journalism.

Public Communications Officers draft press releases and contact people in the media who might print or broadcast their material. Many radio or television special reports, newspaper stories, and magazine articles start at the desks of Public Communications Officers. Sometimes, the subject of a press release is an organization and its policies toward employees or its role in the community. For example, a press release might describe a public issue, such as health, energy, or the environment, and what an organization does to advance that issue.

Public Communications Officers also arrange and conduct programs to maintain contact between organization representatives and the public. For example, Public Communications Officers set up speaking engagements and prepare speeches for officials. These individuals represent employers at community projects; make film, slide, and other visual presentations for meetings and school assemblies; and plan conventions.

Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook