EDITORIAL: Pete Rose's transparent effort to show remorse may prove to be the most damaging whiff of all

The publicity-seeking exploits of the rich and famous will rarely find their way into this column, but being forced to watch Pete Rose's pernicious tour of Astroturf remorse has pushed tolerance of celebrity solipsism too far.

The publicity-seeking exploits of the rich and famous will rarely find their way into this column, but being forced to watch Pete Rose's pernicious tour of Astroturf remorse has pushed tolerance of celebrity solipsism too far.

Reactions to his bottom-of-the-ninth attempt to gain readmission to baseball and a spot in the Hall of Fame have been mixed and heated. He has excited more indignation than support, more credit for his gall than his self-awareness. But had one asked a few months ago if an "open" admission by Rose of wrongdoing would be met with such a cynical response, I doubt many would have predicted it. Exactly what went wrong with this strategy is neatly illustrated by one statement in his book My Prison Without Bars: "For the last 14 years, I've consistently heard the statement, 'If Pete Rose comes clean, all would be forgiven.'" We all know that many an embattled executive or drug-addled movie star has offered an open confession only on the advice of PR counsel, not because it is the right thing to do. But Rose's strategy, and his end game, is the only thing transparent here. He has taken for granted a public sentiment that generally agrees that a great player should be honored for his talent, in spite of his addictions. Instead of speaking directly and frankly to that public, he made it all too clear that the only real audience for his contrition is Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig and the sports writers. Rose concluded his previous comment by saying, "Well, I've done what you've asked. The rest is up to the commissioner and the big umpire in the sky." He couldn't be more wrong. Sorrell calls for more focus on young PR talent Martin Sorrell, CEO of WPP, who was interviewed for this week's Analysis (p. 11), says he is "appalled" at the lack of attention paid to the marketing and PR talent pool. "I don't think people believe that recruiting bright young people is important, that training them is important - they just think they can go to one of the competitive agencies and pull the people they need out." Sorrell adds that no particular marketing sector has set a similarly high standard for aggressive and strategic recruitment of new entrants into the profession, including PR, though WPP has had marketing fellowship programs for MBAs and undergraduates for about seven years. Conventional wisdom on the PR talent issue often focuses on starting salaries in the profession. The results of last year's PRWeek Salary Survey reveal that the average earnings for a person working in the profession for two years or less was $35,826. The research is now underway again, and the debate will no doubt resurface. But it is hoped this year's PRWeek Salary Survey will provide an opportunity to explore Sorrell's point in greater depth. What do new entrants to the profession look for beyond salary? We will speak not only to those the industry has attracted, but those it lost along the way, to glean some answers to that question. ----- Log on to www.cyberpulse.com/salary to take the PRWeek Salary Survey. The identity of respondents is kept completely confidential.

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