'Horrendous': Internal comms pros bristle at 'abysmal' portrayal in Cosmopolitan

Cosmopolitan magazine has been labelled as "horrendous" and "completely out of touch" after publishing what it says is a "tongue-in-cheek" article about internal comms pros - although others in the industry have seen the funny side.

Cosmopolitan's 'play the job game' feature draws scorn from internal comms pros
Cosmopolitan's 'play the job game' feature draws scorn from internal comms pros

The article, which looks at several emerging jobs, including 'wellness entrepreneur' and 'fintech developer', outlines a number of alleged responsibilities of an internal communications strategist. 

The article reads: "The internal comms strategist is busybusyverybusy - despite their whole job seemingly being about organising people's birthday cakes."

It goes on to make a series of suggestions for anyone who aspires to have a career in internal comms - including having a carefully curated personal brand and an in-depth knowledge of potential employers.

The article faced a backlash online from public relations professionals.

Internal comms director Rachel Miller pointed out in a blog post on LinkedIn that while the article was most probably tongue-in-cheek, it was also "horrendous" and "beyond unhelpful".

Commenting on Miller's LinkedIn post, Toni Noble, UK head of internal comms at PepsiCo, said the article undermined an internal communicator's purpose.

Noble said: "Unfortunately it sums up some naive views of what IC is all about...[but] at least most business leaders are starting to understand the real benefit and purpose of our function."

Internal comms manager at Nuffield Health, Julie Jones, said: "What a naive, unintelligent article." She added, sarcastically, "Journalism at its best."

'Completely out of touch'

James Staunton, a partner at Instinctif Partners, described the article as "truly abysmal", while another PepsiCo comms pro said Cosmopolitan was "completely out of touch".

In response, Cosmopolitan editor-in-chief Farrah Storr told PRWeek: "Of course Cosmopolitan does not believe this is a fair representation of internal comms strategists.

"It is a light-hearted, tongue-in-cheek piece which gently pokes fun at a number of professions and was in no way intended to cause any offence. We work with lots of brilliant comms professionals all the time and have the upmost respect for the profession."

While many took umbrage, however, several also poked fun at the article on Twitter.

Miller also highlighted that Cosmopolitan's publisher Hearst was itself currently seeking internal PR support:

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