Friday, February 04, 2005

Pro-PR Grassroots Campaign

Steven Phenix sent me - and a few other PR bloggers - a missive, a call-to-arms to defend public relations.

As Tom Murphy noted, there might be more reasons than just pushing the envelope, and trying to clear the air for PR, but all-in-all it's for a good cause: to highlight what PR does for the public, or as Phenix wrote, have the "PR blogging community devote a post-or two-to why we are necessary, how we make an impact or to simply what we respect and love about this industry. My hope is that our contributions will create somewhat of a buffer zone of online goodwill that will hold up no matter what befalls us next."

What ever befalls the PR industry next, though, the industry needs to weather the storm on its own. As marketing, advertising and public relations continue to roll down a path of convergence - where both boardrooms and the public cannot tell the difference - PR needs to push its way to the forefront.

And, with an administration that had a first term with one of the lowest amount of press conferences, and then showed its disdain for the press by paying pundits to push their agenda, PR has taken an unnecessary hit for being the conduit of some of these deals. The NY Press has the best piece I've seen thus far on all the paid pundits.

PR is necessary for any corporation, but will need to continue to evolve. And, there really is no better source for that type of insight than Jack O'Dwyer, from his commentary on PR's shift toward marketing.

One thing that we need to remember in this industry - as amorphous communications grows more and more, and as we are unable to truly control the message on blogs - that the P has always been about public relations. We are a bridge to CEOs, to corporations to reach out to the public. We need to not pull the Heismann move, but to help reporters, editors, pundits, and yes, bloggers, get the information they need.

As a blogger, I have run into that - PR firms that I call to get information for a post, or for my presentation for the NewComm Forum, and then having the Heismann pulled on me. It's bad when a PR person would do that to another PR person. It's unconscionable for a PR person to do that to a reporter.

One thing I did pick up at the NewComm Forum was from a discussion with a very Texas-cute VP from a large PR firm. She noted that there are times that PR people should circle the wagons, because outsiders are looking to see what we are going to say about our colleagues.

While PR needs to evolve, and we need to be pro-PR, we also need to look out for other firms, and help them find the light - hallelujah! - and come into the fold.


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