150 Years of Modern Public Relations Practices in Nigeria
Lagos Business School
Olusanmi C. Amujo
T. C. Melewar
April 3, 2009
Purpose of this paper: This paper traces the history and development of modern public relations practices in Nigeria over a hundred and fifty (150) year period, 1859 to 2008.
Design/method/approach: This objective is achieved via a conceptual review of existing academic and professional literatures concerning Nigerian media history, public relations management, business studies and mass communication studies.
Findings: This study dispels the notion that modern public relations practices began in Nigeria with the creation of a public information unit by the United African Company (then a British multinational) in 1949. The study presents evidence indicating that modern public relations practices actually began with the establishment of the first newspaper in 1859 by the late Henry Townsend (a British missionary). Findings from the study also indicate the dominance of four important periods in the development of modern public relations practices in Nigeria. These include public relations broadcasting era, political propaganda era, public information era and the professionalisation era.
Theoretical implication: The review of conceptual literature in this study adds to existing literature on the development of public relations around the world. It gives indication that academic knowledge on public relations practices has not only grown in western countries but that it has also developed in developing countries.
Practical implications: Insights given about the development of public relations practices (especially the recent rise of well established PR consulting firms) indicates that the practice of public relations in Nigeria has matured.
Limitation of study and future research direction: Conceptual literature on the history of public relations in the public sector especially before Nigeria's independence in 1960 is growing. This paper adds to the volume of works in this area of study. However, there is a limited understanding of the developmental and historical use of public relations tools such as marketing PR, media relations, financial and consumer PR. Also there is limited information on how the use of PR developed amongst non-governmental organisations. It would therefore be educative to commission another study that will undertake a comprehensive research into this aspect of the Nigerian public relations history. This limitation provides an opportunity for future research.
Original value of the paper: The paper provides insights on history of public relations in Nigeria which is under studied. Information on how public relations developed in a African cultural context provides western academics a balanced view of the development of public relations not just in western countries but also in a developing country.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 45
Keywords: Public relations, Media, Colonialismworking papers series
Date posted: April 3, 2009 ; Last revised: November 6, 2009
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