HARD COMMERCIAL EDGE OF PR 1996: CONFERENCE REPORT; Stonborough calls for PR to practice safe TV

British industry is coming under systematic and unfair attack from a left-leaning establishment of unaccountable TV journalists, according to former TV reporter and media relations consultant John Stonborough.

British industry is coming under systematic and unfair attack from a

left-leaning establishment of unaccountable TV journalists, according to

former TV reporter and media relations consultant John Stonborough.



TV regulators appear incapable or unwilling to ensure fair treatment for

commercial clients subjected to unwarranted criticism and innuendo by TV

investigative reporters, he said. ‘We are not the enemy. There is mostly

nothing to defend. Justify, yes, explain, yes, debate, yes, but defend,

as if we were bad, evil, of course not.’



This media, he insists, ‘have been seduced by the values of the left’,

and are sneering about commercial endeavour. ‘In short the adversarial

style adopted by the investigative broadcast media is working against

the very public interest they use as justification.’



Although Stonborough said he believed the genre was ‘losing credibility,

because of some high profile mistakes, the trend is for still more

expose journalism’.



In the face of this, PR must develop its own strategies for handling

aggressive TV investigations into clients’ affairs. ‘If I have any

message for you today it is that it’s your job to ensure that your

company practices safe TV as rigorously as we are exhorted to practice

safe sex.’



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