Editorial: PR critics jump on Royal bandwagon

The credibility of the PR industry took another knock this week with the coverage of the impending nuptials of Prince Edward and Sophie Rhys-Jones. This marriage of media obsessions - Royals and reputation managers - prompted a rash of misinformed press items giving an ’inside view’ of the industry and speculating on the contribution that Ms Rhys-Jones dubbed ’Princess Spin’ or ’The Princess of PR’ could make to the repositioning of the Royal family.

The credibility of the PR industry took another knock this week

with the coverage of the impending nuptials of Prince Edward and Sophie

Rhys-Jones. This marriage of media obsessions - Royals and reputation

managers - prompted a rash of misinformed press items giving an ’inside

view’ of the industry and speculating on the contribution that Ms

Rhys-Jones dubbed ’Princess Spin’ or ’The Princess of PR’ could make to

the repositioning of the Royal family.



The most damaging of these was a piece penned by Simon Mills in the

Evening Standard (8 January) on the merits of marrying a PR girl. Mills

dismissed the skills of the modern PR women as a ’nice telephone manner’

and the ability to ’organise a decent party’. In this context, his

statement that no qualifications, training or licence are needed to set

up an agency, make those involved in the industry sound like incompetent

amateurs.



This kind of AbFab coverage is in danger of pulling the rug out from

under any industry efforts to portray PR as a professional, strategic

discipline. As the media continue to talk us into a recession, it is

even more vital that this kind of misconception is corrected. But where

was the response from the industry - the statements by senior

practitioners or the trade bodies setting the record straight and

drawing the important distinction between publicity and PR?



If a client company had been on the receiving end of this kind of

appalling commentary, the corporate communications director or

consultant would have been on the phone moments after the offending copy

rolled off the press. This would have been the time for the industry to

practice what it preaches.



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