Probably the single issue that unites (or should unite) Public Relations practitioners, regardless of your industry or discipline is the profession’s image.
PR suffers more than any single profession, possibly with the exception of the law, from misperceptions, sterotypes and ignorance.
Of course the irony of this situation isn’t lost on anyone.
It is time that right minded practitioners stood up to these issues. Industry bodies have in the past, with the best of intentions, tried to tackle these issues but for a variety of reasons they’ve had little success.
What is required is for PR people to stand up, address issues, highlight poor practice, respond to ill-informed criticism and stop accepting untruths.
The profession’s image isn’t helped by the unethical practices of high profile “practitioners” or the never ending list of shoddy and unprofessional people purporting to implement PR campaigns when it’s clear they don’t understand the very basics of good communications.
What is required is Passion. If you enjoy your job, if you believe that PR provides a positive, useful and important service in helping individuals and organizations communicate, then stand up and fight. Surely it’s time to damn malpractice and protect what PR stands for.
Maybe I am living in a world of my own, but I am passionate about this. I don’t accept that PR should by synonomous with spin, dishonesty or stupidity.
PR is a fantastic career. It is challenging. It provides an important service not just to global multinationals but to non-profit organizations and individuals.
The only way to tackle these negative perceptions is for every right-minded practitioner to be counted on this issue. You must take responsibility for your own profession.
Gerry McCusker has made a start in the UK Edition of PR Week:
“In fact, after I added too much salt when cooking risotto for friends the other night, that was, in its own small way, a PR disaster: my reputation as a convivial host lay in shreds……. If you believe everything that you read, watch and hear in the media, a PR disaster is anything that causes embarrassing or negative publicity for any given organisation or entity. And I’m sick of it – sick of PR getting it in the neck. More than that, though, I’m really cheesed off that the profession I’ve studied, practised then studied and practised again over the past 20 years is becoming almost synonymous with the word ‘disaster’ – and no one in our industry seems ready to combat these ongoing and damaging slurs against our reputation.”
Thanks for JC for the link!