We’ve been avid chroniclers here of the worst of PR practice. Our How Not To Guide to PR, our buzzword removal tool and our campaign to bring an end to the dreaded ‘sell-in’ call (which seems to have made some difference judging by our postbag) are three examples.
All that said, I’d like to offer a couple of thoughts about why I think we PR people really aren’t that bad:
This, of course, isn’t news, but it perhaps also demonstrates that quite a lot of ‘softer’ PR provides serves a useful commercial purpose for news providers.
I’m not claiming any functional or moral equivalent between PR and journalism. Our functions are entirely different – and yes, PR is about raising awareness of an organisation for a strategic or tactical purpose. My issue is with the underpinning assumption that all PR is about disguising the truth. For the most part, in my experience, it’s about encouraging examination, not interfering with it. And after all, if a decent softer PR story sits adjacent to a hard news piece on a website, it’s attracting a bigger potential readership to more important issues of the day. How’s that for a bit of PR spin?