From our Readers - BBC shows weakness of PR understanding

Behind the public criticism of the BBC was the astonishing and embarrassing weakness of the corporation's PR (News, 31 October). This was a failure much more fundamental than an inability to manage the crisis. The BBC's PR people obviously had no power to control events, nor to get senior executives to listen to whatever advice they must have given - unless, of course, that advice was to keep their heads down and say nothing.

Of even more significance is the fact that the BBC public relations people appeared to show no understanding of their vital role in managing issues - the need to analyse and evaluate issues before they can become crises.

The biggest issue facing the PR business today is that few practitioners carry the real power and control that would allow them to be PROs rather than merely press officers.

The BBC failed, despite its understanding (or not?) of the influence of public opinion and the resources we contribute through our licence fees. The corporation seems to have PR bricklayers, not architects.

Roger Haywood, chief executive, Issues Managers.

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