17 November 2007

PR frustrating at times

Known for her stinging attacks on the profession, Strumpette didn’t hold back.

Referring to a long list of Web 2 “luminaries” and how they “contribute” to PR, Amanda Chapel wrote: “It's a motley band of no-talent schmooze hucksters surreptitiously slinging refried common sense to a global room full of nitwit conference goers and pedestrian dupes.”

Whether or not you agree with Chapel (Strumpette) at http://strumpette.com, you should read it.

In a roundabout way, it brings me to my point. PR is often a frustrating business.

For starters, everyone, it seems, is an “expert” (until they have to write a media release, or construct a strategy).

It’s a business where things move fast. “You’re only as good as your last trick”, just about sums it up for me. In that regard, it’s not much different from journalism. You get the story, find a new angle for the next one, then move on. “Today’s news is tomorrow’s fish wrapping,” as one crusty editor said. In fact, I think all editors used to say that.

Chapel’s article helped distill why I get frustrated with PR.

I particularly agreed with point 4 (The Rejection of Healthy Discrimination). This is reflected in society and at university. Students these days all have to get distinctions. No one is mediocre. NOT. Children these days aren’t equipped to deal with failure. We wrap them in cotton wool and protect them from, it seems, everything (including playground swings, slippery dips and monkey bars).

“We've told a generation of kids that don't know shit that they have something important to say,” Chapel says. “Now they won't shut up! And now they drown out any/all serious discussion and debate.”

I feel a headache coming on.

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The PR Lab is a consultancy, specialising on research, reputation management, social media, media relations and the development of measurable strategies that produce results. It is run by Dr Greg Smith, a former journalist and PR professional. Greg worked on daily newspapers in Sydney, Brisbane and Perth. He held senior PR positions in the Australian Defence Force, Sydney Olympics and national not-for-profits. He has also lectured in PR at Edith Cowan University and the University of Notre Dame Australia.