BBC media editor Amol Rajan: '95 per cent of comms from PRs is crap'

BBC media editor Amol Rajan has said 95 per cent of communication he receives from PRs is "insulting, infuriating, irrelevant or a waste of time, or some combination of all of those".

Amol Rajan: 'We've lost control of public narratives'
Amol Rajan: 'We've lost control of public narratives'

Speaking to an audience of marcoms and media professionals at a gala dinner for PRWeek’s PR360 and sister event Media360, Rajan said the remaining five per cent "makes all that crap worth it".

"Therefore, as a journalist, I genuinely have every incentive in your success in the right kind of way. I want the right kind of PR to succeed and I want the wrong kind of PR to fail," he said.

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Rajan, a former media adviser to The Independent publisher Evgeny Lebedev and editor of the newspaper, said the digital age has ushered in a period in which, when it comes to public narratives, "all of us in this room have to a very significant degree have lost control, and taking it back is impossible".

"A lot of people think of this as democracy in action. But when it comes to controlling the reputation of a brand or an individual, or crisis management, I think a better description is anarchy," he explained.

"In PR today you have to be supremely agile. That means pre-empting bad stories by getting your message out first. It means expecting the unexpected and always being on call just in case some loud mouth with a massive social following takes [issues] against your client.

"It means recognising the yawning demographic divide whereby reaching young and old increasingly happens on completely different platforms and channels, both of which require time and expertise to master.

"It means realising, frankly, that your contacts book is not only constantly out of date, but is becoming more out of date by the minute."

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