“The Most Dangerous Ideas About Public Relations"

As a dedicated Ad Age reader (and web visitor), I stumble across a lot of intriguing news about advertising, marketing and the like. But the site’s latest 3-minute news brief did more than intrigue me–it petrified me. I cringed when I zeroed in on the title, “The Most Dangerous Ideas About Public Relations,” straight from Ad Age’s editor Jonah Bloom and the Council of Public Relations Firms. In his lilting Australian accent, Bloom covers all the bases: the drastic move from print to online, media fragmentation leading people to biased news with which they already concur (Fox or MSNBC, anyone?) and of course journalistic credibility, and the resulting “herd of poodles following fewer stories and rarely challenging the establishment.”

Granted, the man is has a point. In fact, he’s absolutely right. The newspaper industry, and objective journalism as a whole, is somewhat of an endangered species and PR could easily be considered the poacher. Of course, we don’t think of ourselves that way—we are professionals walking a fine line between rallying for our clients and providing the media with content they otherwise might have missed.

How do we reconcile this dangerous aspect of our profession? How do we sleep at night? Well, probably with the TV on scouring the news channels for an answer. Eventually, we and the media themselves will wake up and realize it’s just another American checks-and-balances system. We as PR professionals will strive to seek out new and dissenting ideas to inject into the public forum, and media in turn will regulate the amount of “flack” finding its way through. Because regardless of some of our industry’s mistake-makers, PR pros, too, strive for credibility!

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