How would you explain to your parents what public relations is? Provide an example to help them understand.
Public relations (PR) is an industry that seeks to achieve a collective understanding between the entity(ies) that it represents and the public. PR attempts to achieve this while adhering to a complex set of morals and ethics which sometimes result in conflicting responsibility through the use of information and advertisement. An example would be the press coverage of the 32nd President of the United States: Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The press honored his request never to be photographed in his wheelchair. Today I doubt that that request would be met with the same standards, but a modicum of the principal is still present.
(This image is courtesy of http://money.cnn.com/2010/08/03/news/Curtis_roosevelt_FDR.fortune/index.htm.)