Last week, a storm brewed after BBC Radio 4 aired a show ‘The Art of PR‘, which featured PR practitioners who talked about public relations as if it existed to handle publicity alone. 

I was tagged in a Tweet about it and saw two separate people talk about how disappointed they were with the show’s choice of PR spokespeople and what they had to say. The conversations then went on…

I’ve talked on my blog so many times about how media relations is only one part of public relations, as the media is a stakeholder because it speaks to the public. The public should be able to trust the media, but trust in the media is in major decline, mostly due to lack of transparency and fake news. (Even the other day I saw a story in the Daily Record about a girl who had her Hogmanay night out ruined because a retailer sent her the wrong dress from an online order. I mean COME ON! This isn’t even news to her family, so why is the world being told about it?!)

Back to the Radio 4 show. It talked about stunts and talked about tactics which can be part of public relations, but our business is so much more than this.

We left the Ab Fab days a long time ago. We’ve moved into a time where those of us who are Chartered/Accredited/held accountable and continue to invest in our development, can call ourselves strategic advisors, and we play a pivotal role in helping businesses and organisations realise their ‘why’, underline their purpose and help them effectively communicate with their stakeholders. We are about relationship building which means building trust.

Where to find PR spokespeople

Rather than pick people who can’t talk about what public relations actually is and does nowadays, the BBC should have looked at the likes of the Women in PR speaker register or look to the CIPR or PRCA who represent the industry and who hold us to account through codes of conduct. Ethical and respected practitioners are available for comment in abundance!

As you’ll know, I’m passionate about public relations and about professionalism, but when the media continues to use people who can’t talk proficiently about public relations, how can we move on and how does the media get educated?

The media needs to understand PR better too

Last week I responded to a journalist’s tweet about measurement and evaluation. There were a series of tweets talking about the ‘grip and grin’ style of photos, sometimes taken to send to media outlets to help tell a story. I think there is a place for good imagery, however, as I pointed out to the journalist, there needs to be a purpose to the generation of the coverage and it can only be evaluated as being successful, if it achieves something. The only way you’ll know that is through proper objectives and KPIs and sound measurement and evaluation. Many public relations practitioners still struggle to produce reports which are of value to clients, as they don’t say what the impact is of their work.

Real PR spokespeople

Come on journalists and producers, call on real PR spokespeople who operate at board level to discuss public relations and give the authentic portrayal about the important work we do! You can find my number on the contact page for starters…