Seven weeks to launch a national weekly magazine. We were told it couldn’t be done. We were told it wouldn’t work. ’There’s not enough to write about.’ ’Who will want to read it?’
Seven weeks to launch a national weekly magazine. We were told it
couldn’t be done. We were told it wouldn’t work. ’There’s not enough to
write about.’ ’Who will want to read it?’
What can we say? We proved them wrong. Twelve months later, we are the
number one weekly public relations publication in the US, with a
circulation of more than 10,000 and a readership of well over
We are the number one preferred read: 84.6% prefer PRWeek to any other
PR marketing title. And PRWeek is already the number one source for PR
jobs, with a greater volume of jobs than any national newspaper,
including The New York Times.
We launched on Nov. 16, 1998 with a national exclusive about Mike
McCurry’s much-awaited first job after leaving the White House and a
report on CEO attitudes to PR. It was the start of an exciting year of
news exclusives, including dollars 50 million account wins, the biggest
year of PR agency mergers and acquisitions in history and coverage of
several important crises and PR problems.
We commissioned more than dollars 100,000 of original research to
produce some spectacular surveys, including a Salary & Benefits Survey
(April 19); the Top 200 Agency rankings (June 14); two CEO reports (Nov.
16, 1998 and Nov. 15 1999); a Journalist Spin Survey; and countless
rankings of major sectors and markets, including healthcare and hi-tech,
the PR industry’s hottest scenes.
We covered a number of compelling topics in-depth such as HMO reform, PR
education, reputation management and stock ownership.
Some of the most enjoyable and popular issues have been the
The ’40 under 40’ (June 21) identified some of the young stars making an
impact in the industry. The 50 Most Powerful Women in PR (August 9)
celebrated the achievements of women in the industry, while pointing out
that although the glass ceiling is starting to shatter, it still
And our recent ’Top 100 Most Influential PR People’ feature generated
8,600 hits on our web site in 24 hours.
PRWeek also launched a number of important campaigns. The ’Power of PR
Campaign’ kicked off with a provocative feature called the ’Super Bowl
Fantasy’ (March 29), which challenged four top PR agencies to devise
’alternative’ PR campaigns for advertisers seeking exposure during the
Super Bowl. And over the next six months, we wrote about the importance
of PRand how it tied in to several key events in the history of the
We also launched the ’Proof’ Campaign (May 17), an initiative by
PRWeek’s sister title, PRWeek UK, to provide a standard tool for the
measurement of PR effectiveness. This tool is currently being tested by
GM and AT&T.
As the magazine gained momentum, the media world sat up and began to
take notice. Our editor-in-chief Adam Leyland appeared on CNN’s Inside
Politics with Bernard Shaw to discuss a report in PRWeek ranking the
communications teams of the presidential candidates.
PRWeek journalists have also become a useful source of comment for the
media in crisis situations: when controversial superstar Michael Jackson
failed to appear at a rock concert in late May, we were asked to comment
for a story on Entertainment Tonight. And when a Coca-Cola product
recall was issued in Belgium, France and Luxembourg, PRWeek was
interviewed by the BBC.
In the meantime, PRWeek has been busy ensuring that readers are given
access to a wealth of international stories. The UK-based parent company
bought Asian PR News, the leading Asian PR title, and PRReport,
Germany’s oldest weekly PR title.
But no magazine launch is without some technical snafus. There have been
a few teething problems along the way. Literally. When a leaking
overhead pipe started flooding the computer systems room, two dedicated
staff members waded through six inches of water in their bare feet,
risking life and limb to save the PRWeek equipment. They later reported
’tingling sensations’ in their fillings for several hours.
And with several Brits on the launch team, there was a language barrier
to overcome in the early stages. There was widespread consternation, for
example, about spelling and word choices or expressions; for example,
use of the word ’fag’ for ’cigarette.’ The Americans also had to teach
their English colleagues about baseball and football (American, of
But one year later, PRWeek is firmly established in the American PR
culture, and the future of PRWeek looks very bright indeed. There are
big plans in store for 2000, starting with the first-ever PRWeek Awards,
15, 2000 - a glamorous black-tie event celebrating the best of PR, at
the Marriott Marquis in New York. But there’s much more to come. Here’s
to the next 12 months.