Shaping the Toolkit: A Look at PR Services Companies and Founders

media monitoring

More than 100 years ago, Ivy Lee was creating PR history with theories and practices. One of the duties he and other early PR pros were tasked with doing was relaying news and announcements. The job called for press releases, once they were invented in 1906. Releases were then distributed (via mail, mostly) and results measured. It is a mistake, however, to assume PR pros did all these things alone.

Though PR service companies are underrepresented in our industry’s history, they are responsible for much innovation in the sector. In fact, a few services companies date back to the late 1800s. Let’s look at some of the people behind these successful businesses that helped shape PR.
Media Monitoring Before It Was Cool
In 1888, Frank Burrelle overheard several Wall Street execs complain that they lacked time to keep up with the news, even though it was very important for their work. Inspired, Burrelle leaned over and told the businessmen that he would monitor the news for them.

Burrelle’s Press Clipping Bureau was started with Frank, his wife Nellie, and their friends clipping articles at a kitchen table before delivering them to clients. Meanwhile, in the same year, Robert Luce quit his job at The Boston Globeto focus on Luce Press Clippings, which he started with his brother, Linn.


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