Ian Monk: Some self-interest in Guardian 100

Three cheers for increased PR representation in the Media Guardian's latest list of the top 100 media movers and shakers.

Ian Monk
Ian Monk

The list includes an illuminating cast list of practitioners of the dark arts, from those old adversaries Andy Coulson and Max Clifford, to City heavyweights Alan Parker and Roland Rudd. It illustrates the fact that our profession remains a gloriously broad church of personalities and skills with few unifying characteristics beyond our own perceptions of success.

It also highlights the fact that our services are, more than ever, vital to those from all walks of life.

It is ironic that The Guardian gives such recognition to our work. It was, after all, the newspaper that spawned the dictum of Flat Earth News, which lamented the toppling of independent journalism by the machinations of PR professionals.

Interesting, then, to ponder how many hard-working PROs were given responsibility for ensuring their clients' high ranking in the 100.

We should also note the list is not entirely free of the sort of self-interest PROs would always encourage a newspaper to declare when proclaiming on a subject on which it may be slightly commercially biased.

Take, for instance, the up-ranking of Apple's Steve Jobs from last year's number four to this year's top of the pile. Not by any chance connected with the fact that The Guardian has invested its digital future in Apple apps?

The list also positions Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger at 38 (far above newspaper editors whose onand offline circulations dwarf that of The Guardian). He earns glowing citations as 'an early digital champion' and 'the poster boy for the free web movement'.

The Guardian's list provides a valid debating point for PROs by generally upgrading the heroes of new media at the expense of press and broadcast influence.

It also makes a change for top BBC management, who liberally sprinkle the list, to be ranked in order of influence rather than for the size of their pay and pensions.

- Ian Monk is founder of Ian Monk Associates and a former executive at the Daily Mail and The Sun.

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