Tales from Tinseltown: If a PR group has to hire a PR pro to handle publicity, is it bad. PR?

Imagine a group of plumbers at a Vegas convention, sitting around their hotel room after losing their shirts at the crap tables, when suddenly the toilet begins leaking. ’What should we do?’ they cry. ’Call a plumber,’ one suggests.

Imagine a group of plumbers at a Vegas convention, sitting around their hotel room after losing their shirts at the crap tables, when suddenly the toilet begins leaking. ’What should we do?’ they cry. ’Call a plumber,’ one suggests.

Imagine a group of plumbers at a Vegas convention, sitting around

their hotel room after losing their shirts at the crap tables, when

suddenly the toilet begins leaking. ’What should we do?’ they cry. ’Call

a plumber,’ one suggests.



That scenario occurred to me when I read that the Public Relations

Society of America has gone and hired a ... publicist.



Wait a minute: aren’t we all publicists? I say ’we,’ but I’m not

actually a PRSA member, subscribing to the Groucho Marx adage that I

would never join any organization that would admit me as a member

Although I don’t know if they would.



Why do publicists need a publicist? Shouldn’t the organization’s members

already be promoting their agenda? How will this new publicist go about

publicizing publicists?



I should be careful using the word ’publicist.’ Many in the public

relations business sneer at it, believing it minimizes the scope of what

a public relations practitioner does.



There’s some truth to that. My fellow Publicists Guild members and I are

concerned about attracting attention to our entertainment projects and

clients. We’re not normally involved in other aspects of PR, though we

are called into crisis management when a celebrity is found with an

underage youth in a compromising situation. Like at a Republican

fund-raiser.



Because the Publicists Guild and the PRSA have different agendas (for

one thing, I don’t think we have a publicist, though I’ll have to

check), I wondered if anyone in the Guild was also a member of PRSA. I

called seven of my colleagues, including a woman I hadn’t spoken to in

awhile.



She, as it turns out, was the only one of the seven who belonged to both

groups.



She confessed to not being an active member, but felt it ’added status’

to her resume. Always in search of extra status myself, I inquired as to

whether I should join PRSA, and expressed curiosity about the dues.



’More than you can probably afford,’ she snidely responded, jarringly

reminding me why I hadn’t spoken to her in a long time.



One thing the PRSA’s new spokesman should do is stress the importance of

members performing pro bono work. It seems that other professions, such

as medical and legal ones, have done more in that area - and

subsequently received good press for it. I recall asking my department

head at a ’major Westside PR firm’ if I could bring in a pro bono

children’s advocacy client.



She looked at me as if I’d requested a raise and shorter workweek; I

hadn’t been aware that the human face could contort in such a

manner.



So, c’mon, PRSA. Promote an agenda of helping others, even if they

provide no billable hours. That’s something worthy of media attention.

It would also make me relieved to not be a member, as I won’t have to do

anything myself.





Lawrence Mitchell Garrison is an LA-based freelance publicist and

writer.



Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register
Already registered?
Sign in