THE BIG PITCH: How can young PR pros be convinced their work isvaluable to the country?

DAVID PRAGER



Senior account executive, Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide, New

York



The doubt felt by many young PR professionals in the wake of September

11 is hard to miss. Questioning your societal contribution, career path,

and commitment to the PR industry are all normal reactions to an event

of such cataclysmic proportions. Agencies need to understand what

younger staffers are going through. Simply put, this is the biggest

event of their lives. Employers can help their staffers get through

their doubts by keeping them focused on the job at hand. They also need

to remind staffers that their work, no matter how indirectly, makes a

contribution to the cause.



PR communicates client messages, and will ultimately help to massage our

wounded economy back to health through a unified voice of

confidence.



In the end, however, it is the young PR pros themselves who must wrestle

with their own emotions and uncertainties to discover why what they do

is meaningful.



STEVE WINTER



President, Brotman.Winter.Fried Communications, Washington, DC



As PR professionals, our responsibilities have never been as important

as they are right now. When our employees begin to question their

function or the overall value of our profession, I remind them of

President Bush's mandate to keep our nation moving, to keep our economy

vibrant, to maintain a critical sense of normalcy. Especially in

difficult economic times, it's crucial we recall the role PR plays on

behalf of our clients. If a story in the local paper brings 50 more

diners into a restaurant, we're helping to ensure that client's success.

If a TV feature helps sell a product to further a retail client's bottom

line, we're doing our part to strengthen the local economy. By putting

things into perspective this way, I think our younger executives get a

better understanding that what we do as PR professionals does have

meaning and value on a broader scale, not just for the furtherance of

our clients.



JOE MILLER



Senior managing director



RF Binder Partners, New York



Our CEO talked with the entire staff several times in the days

immediately following September 11, and encouraged people to do whatever

they wanted or needed to do in terms of volunteering. We also found

ourselves able to keep our junior staff motivated and engaged in a way

that directly related to our business. We have a number of clients with

the types of experience and perspective the media actually needs right

now to help explain the September 11 tragedy, as well as subsequent

events. So, many of our junior staff have spent a lot of time letting

reporters and editors know about clients who can serve as useful

resources in areas like aviation, oil production and pricing, financial

services, engineering and construction, information privacy, and

identity theft. This has helped everyone here understand how PR can

really add value to the news process, and play an important role in

keeping the public informed.



ANDY GETSEY



Cofounder & CEO, AtomicPR



San Francisco



In the face of the terrible events affecting human beings all over the

world, it's understandable for people to question the value of their

work - especially in PR, where the connection to deep meaning can seem

subtle sometimes. We have agency-wide discussions each Friday afternoon

where we regularly talk about the role of PR and its place in the scheme

of current events. In the past few weeks, the thought is that life must

go on - even in this chaotic environment and economy - and business is

the engine that will fuel rebuilding and stabilization. While some have

opted for volunteer work, many of our young people feel they are doing

something equally significant by doing their best to support their

clients' company value in the free market, which in turn helps support

the thousands of individuals and families who depend on their company's

success for their livelihoods.



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