One of the topics myself and Phil Gomes discussed last week was the antiquated merit system applied in most, though not all, PR agencies.
You start at the bottom doing all the administration work no one else wants and then you focus for the next five years on getting as far from the media as you can. This of course is all motivated by the fact that “strategic” client counsel is the end-game for any self-respecting PR pro.
I know this process very well because I happily participated in it throughout the early 1990’s.
Now I fully realize that media relations is a small part of the PR discipline and whilst the public perception of PR is that of Press Relations, our profession encompasses a far wider range of tasks and areas of expertise.
However, with hindsight, it seems to me that this desire to move away from the media is very very wrong.
Good media relations is an under-appreciated asset. The accepted practice of foisting media relations on the juniors is one of the main reasons journalists get so hacked off with PR people who don’t know the first thing about media relations – or the story they are pitching.
Media Relations also provides a unique insight into what’s happening in any given market. A series of successful media meetings can deliver more market intelligence than a month of desk research.
I am happy to see, that among the blogging PR populace anyway, there is a recognized need for effective media relations as part of our more “strategic” services.
Effective media relations technique is difficult to master and it’s a shame when its discarded in the name of career advancement.
I hated doing all the administrative tasks when I started out, but at the risk of sounding like a grandad, it has stood to me.
That was a very long introduction into a story from ESPN which describes the role of Junior Publicist for a sports team one of the worst jobs in sport. If any of you are working in that role, we all know your pain! [Thanks to Darren for the link]