This chapter explores different communication theories and traditions that underpin public relations. It takes a thematic approach looking at the who, what, why and how of communication and grounds the idea of PR firmly in a societal context. As part of this it also looks at the role of the media in communicating to and between organisations and individuals in society. All themes are interconnected and taken together help us understand the complexity of PR. Many of these ideas will be picked up later in this book but for now this chapter aims to provide an overview. It concludes by bringing these ideas together and what they mean to public relations practice.