PR Misc – March 15 2005

 Nooked are conducting two online surveys to find out how journalists, analysts, bloggers and marketing communications practitioners are using RSS.  You can find the journalist, analyst, blogger survey here and the Marcoms survey here.


 David Berlind was recently interviewed by PR Week on the topic of media transparency. (via Andy Lark)

“Established media is coming under attack as a result of some serious and unfortunate gaffes in credibility. The timing of that coincided with the uprising of an alternative source of information: the blogosphere. Leading up to the WebCred conference at Harvard [where established media and bloggers met], there was a lot of clamor about journalists needing to be more transparent. I took that to heart, and said, “Well, my credibility has not yet been called into question, but it’s probably only a matter of time that it is.” A lot of people were talking about transparency, but not many were practicing it. The only way we were going to move the needle on transparency is if someone starts doing it. The best definition I could come up with for transparency was to un-obscure that which is obscured. Generally speaking, the press obscures the raw material behind the work they do.”


 Is the essence of good media relations sending bad news about your client’s competitors to the media?  Some agencies obviously think so.


 Philip Young is presenting a paper on Ethics in PR Practice next week.  Philip provides an abstract online.


 Jeremy Pepper has published a couple of interesting interviews with Howard Rubenstein and Ronn Torossian.

Howard Rubenstein: “I dropped out of Harvard Law School after 2 months, knowing I did not want to practice law. I opened my business at my mother’s kitchen table with one account that billed at $100/month. My father was the Crime Reporter for New York Herald Tribune and he taught me to write in a newsworthy way, how to place articles; he set me on my career. I stuck with it, and built my agency to what it is today. The second important moment was finishing law school at top of the class, sticking to it and then coming back to PR.”


 Jim Horton bemoans the arrival of a new service from PR firm Qorvis Communications that aims to teach journalists and politicians to be better communicators on-air. Interestingly this is a service that has been offered by an Irish PR firm for many many years.  They have been so successful marketing the course that practically every political party uses the service.  The result?  Regardless of political views or the issue involved they all sound remarkably similar.  We’ve become accustomed to hearing every politician mutter “I’m glad you asked me that” in response to any difficult question as they desperately try and collect their thoughts. I think in the long run, these “services” become self-defeating – after all being different and honest is often more memorable.

Jim also points to some recent research that points out that blogs aren’t ubiquitous. The message is don’t believe the hype.


 Shel Holtz and Neville Hobson have released two more installments of their excellent PR podcast For Immediate Release: Podcast #15 and Podcast #14. Is it just me or is Steve Rubel the scarlet pimpernel? Poor Shel and Neville seek him here, Shel and Neville seek him there…


 Phil Gomes shares a potential client’s desire for some astro-turfing consulting.


 Jeremy Pepper discusses how important it is for PR (and marketing) people to get closer to the customer and get an understanding of what they are thinking.

“If you are in a public relations department, here’s a suggestion: work down in customer service for a day. Answer the phones, answer the emails. Do you really know what your customers are saying, or are you too insulated in the PR department? You want to know the real issues for your company, spend a day in the trenches of customer service. Then, work with the head of CS to ensure that messaging is consistent across the board. Should the two departments be connected? Of course not, that’s close to impossible. But, they should work together.”


 Steve Rubel links to an interesting story from The Digital Age that looks at the intersection of RSS and newspapers.


 Trevor Cook points out a recent survey in Australia that found that 74% of PR practitioners are female. 


 Andy Lark points to Tim Bray‘s thesis on why blogging is good for your career.  Andy also adds his own points and in a separate post, highlights some more dubious VNRs.


 Although not specifically about Public Relations, can you believe its five years since the last days of the Internet empire?  Like every empire before it, the Internet’s fall followed the usual pattern, slow initial growth, massive opportunities, wild excess and a terrifying fall. Andrew Smith has some great links to coverage of the fifth anniversary of the Internet bubble’s burst. Also Check out Om Malik‘s collection of links