Steve Barrett on PR

Steve Barrett is VP, editorial director of PRWeek US. Each week he shares his views on the trends and stories that are shaping the PR industry.

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PRWeek editorial director Steve Barrett, FGS Global's Vickee Jordan Adams, Andy Polansky, M Booth's Dale Bornstein and Hill+Knowlton Strategies' AnnaMaria DeSalv

A critical friend to the PR industry

As the great and good of global PR, politics, nonprofits and business gathered in NYC this week it was a wonderful chance to celebrate PRWeek’s silver anniversary in the U.S. and contemplate another 25 years.

PRWeek 25th anniversary logo

As a champion of PR, PRWeek put comms on the map

Editorial director Steve Barrett reflects on PRWeek's original mission statement from 1998 — and on how the industry has evolved today.

Corporate room filled with people raising hands to ask questions

CCOs are growing in importance and upping their pay

A recent report shows compensation, team size and responsibility are on the rise in the CCO’s office — but ethnic and gender diversity are still lagging.

Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Willie Gay

Sports marketers take to the field

As the nation gets set for another season of its most engaging and popular sport, many layers of the marcomms community will be helping with activations or standing by to respond to real-time action and events.

Digital generated image of data lines creating the letters A and I, AI concept

AI hype is done: Time to embrace reality

The (human) chat about generative AI has migrated from intensive promotion and exaggeration to the genuine opportunities and threats this revolutionary technology enables — but PR pros have yet to fully get their arms around it.

Ona Batlle and Olga Carmona holding the Women's World Cup trophy

Summer of women contains a few clouds

There is no room for complacency in the process of ensuring women are treated equally in society and business.

PRWeek 25th anniversary logo

25th celebrations spearhead big few months ahead for PRWeek

Get set for a silver anniversary party in NYC, PRDecoded and Purpose Awards in Chicago, followed by 40 Under 40 and the Hall of Fame, capped off by the 25th PRWeek Awards in March 2024.

Colgate pop-up activation in New York City

Don’t forget that PR is meant to be fun

Running summer experiential activations in locations across the country is the day-to-day reality for many PR pros – and there’s nothing wrong with that.

Comedian Ilana Glazer holding a can of Miller Lite beer

Stick by your brands and your people

Commentary around companies’ second-quarter earnings sheds light on the impact of marketing by brands including Bud Light and Miller Lite that was attacked by conservative critics.

Hat, laptop, and sandals on the beach

5 things to reflect on during the summer break

As PR pros spend some well-deserved time off with their friends and families there is no shortage of issues to keep their brains ticking over in the background.

Headshot of Steve Barrett

Power Listers step up to the plate

In a complex world where businesses must lead on trust and repair fractures in society while also transforming their enterprises amid fundamental technological change, senior comms counsel has never been more important.

People walking past Cannes Lions signage

5 final takeaways from Cannes

The dust has settled on Cannes for another year and millions of words have been written about it. Here are 5 thoughts to fulfil your curiosity and fuel your creativity as we head into summer.

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PR Lions: Many a slip ’twixt cup and lip for comms firms

PR agencies were once again left frustrated about their apparent inability to make a mark in the Cannes Lions category that bears their name, as ad firms continued to dominate.

Cannes Lions trophies

The full skinny on the Cannes PR shortlist

The contenders for the coveted PR Lions have been announced early this year, giving the industry more time to ruminate on the trends in play and a longer sense of hope and anticipation.

Cannes Lions illustration

AI. Climate protests. Spike Lee. All in a week’s work at Cannes

With COVID disappearing in the rear-view mirror, this year’s celebration of communications and marketing is set to be bigger and better than ever – in more ways than one.

Pride Month merchandise displayed at Target

Pride in PR: Genuine allyship is required more than ever

The LGBTQ+ community is under fire like never before and brands must be prepared to play the long game and demonstrate authentic values if they are serious about being supportive.

Disinformation is the new pandemic

Pfizer’s comms chief Sally Susman addressed the Project Veritas sting and other big issues for PR professionals as part of PRWeek’s first live podcast, in conversation with Richard Edelman.

PRWeek US editorial director Steve Barrett at the PRWeek Global Awards

Global Awards winners reflect increasing industry impact

As the milestone of a decade of PRWeek Global Awards winners is reached, the quality of work honored bodes well for an industry at the top of its game across the whole world.

Agency Business Report 2023: Editor's letter

Agency Business Report 2023: Editor's letter

Another year of double-digit growth proves PR is being taken seriously at the highest echelons of organizational management.

David Wells memorial

Remembering a top one percenter in financial communications

This week’s tribute event for David Wells highlighted his contribution to the closely knit tribe of PR professionals operating in the finance space.

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9 trends to look out for in the Agency Business Report

PRWeek’s annual deep dive into the PR agency sector is almost finished and will once again be the ultimate bellwether of the industry — here is a preview of some big trends emerging from conversations with 46 agencies.

Protester holding picture of BlackRock's Larry Fink

How to balance red-blooded capitalism with purposeful business

As emotions run high amid layoffs and economic uncertainty, business leaders are moderating their messaging around ESG and sustainability while staying true to their missions.

Headshots of Susan Nelson, Maria Poveromo and Arielle Patrick

Common themes define PRWeek’s Women of Distinction

Women bring so many strengths to the table in leading a profession that has never been more crucial to the future of business, brands and organizations.

Steve Barrett at the PRWeek Awards

Celebrations of excellence and impact

From the Nasdaq stock exchange in Times Square down to Cipriani on Wall Street, PRWeek this week toasted a profession at the top of its game in high-profile fashion.

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Gender pay gap closing, but not fast enough

PRWeek’s latest research shines a bright light on all aspects of salaries in the PR industry, but especially progress on closing one of the most egregious elements of pay.

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Why PR leads on hybrid creativity

Creativity in advertising has declined in the aftermath of COVID-19, which many put down to a lack of in-person collaboration — but PR is faring better due to its agile heritage.

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2022 agency numbers were good but headwinds loom on horizon

PR continued its growth as a pivotal business function across several discipline areas but it’s not immune to the wider economic trends playing out in 2023.

Rihanna applies Fenty makeup during Super Bowl LVII half-time show

Super Bowl still delivers unique marketing value

Despite a less than stellar crop of ads this year from a creative point of view, a nail-biting finish and vast audience meant marketers could justify their big spending on Super Bowl activations.

Alan Murray, Hernando de Soto, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Lawrence Summers on stage

How CEO comms is shaping Capitalism 2.0

The leaders of the biggest companies in the world have realized communication is vital to plotting the next phase of capitalism and explaining to often skeptical audiences that profit needn’t be separated from purpose.

Pfizer building

Pfizer: Damned if you do, damned if you don’t

The pharma giant’s run-in with Project Veritas demonstrates why every brand needs a plan to contend with social media crises.

Screen shot from Ex Machina trailer

We’ll all be replaced by robots eventually. But not yet.

Everybody’s getting excited about ChatGPT and the potential for the AI chatbot to accomplish extraordinary things, but it’s not yet time for the human race to hand over to the robots entirely.

Stamp reading 25 years

PRWeek US starts its 25th year covering the PR industry

Through thick and thin PRWeek has tracked the fortunes of a profession that has evolved incredibly in two and a half decades.

Source: Getty Images.

9 things for the PR agenda in 2023

After a busy and effective year for a PR industry on top of its game, there’s sure to be no slowdown in 2023 given the massive and multiple challenges ahead.

The PRWeek Hall of Fame Class of 2022

Lessons from purposeful and creative Hall of Famers

The PR industry celebrated six more outstanding inductees to the PRWeek Hall of Fame on Monday evening amid an atmosphere of achievement, anticipation and bullishness about the future.

Headshot of Steve Barrett

Health comms is an unstoppable force

Despite economic headwinds, the health communications sector shows no signs of slowing down.

The Al-Emadi fan village in Doha

A stain on the glorious game

As the most controversial soccer World Cup in history gets set to kick off, fans, players and marketers are venturing into unknown and potentially dangerous territory.

Woman holding roll of "I'm a Georgia Voter" stickers

Midterms provided hope for a more civil discourse

Pre-election predictions failed to come to fruition as many voters rejected election deniers and low-quality candidates.

Elon Musk and Twitter

Brands should push the pause button on Twitter

Marketers and advertisers crave certainty and stability, but the first week under the leadership of Chief Twit Elon Musk has demonstrated precisely the opposite of that.

Cash dollars and stock market indicators

Let’s not talk ourselves into a recession

Financial results season has increased talk of an economic downturn in 2023 but the picture is still very confused and many companies continue to post good numbers — so the prevailing narrative should not be all doom and gloom.

Antonio Guterres at the 77th U.N. General Assembly

Advertising addresses the climate emergency

The Ad Net Zero global climate action initiative aims to convene international efforts to decarbonize the marketing industries.

Steve Barrett being interviewed by Fox 32 in Chicago

Evolution of purpose: Lessons from PRDecoded

An inspiring trip to Chicago for PRWeek’s big annual conference showed business is committed to keeping purpose top of mind despite a challenging economy and detractors attacking “woke capitalism.”

Hand placing 5 wooden blocks with checkmarks on them

5 things for your immediate PRWeek to-do list

The next eight days are super-important on the PRWeek calendar – make sure you have all your ducks in a row regarding the PRWeek Awards, PRDecoded, Purpose Awards and other brand milestones.

Business man's hands using fire extinguisher on flames

Crisis and listening now top PR skills hierarchy

While writing is still important, PRWeek’s latest in-depth research shows it has dropped to third place in the skills league table.

Clean Creatives posters linking Edelman, Ogilvy, Weber Shandwick and BBDO to fossil fuel companies

PR can help fix the world’s addiction to fossil fuels

The PR industry must push back against the narrative played out at this week’s UN General Assembly where the profession was portrayed in pejorative fashion as a dark art practiced by spin doctors.

Stock image of people standing and their feet

The Changemakers diversity conundrum

Diverse PR pros are invited to the ball but their dance cards are still empty.

Queen Elizabeth II

Thank you for your service: 'A jewel to the world and not just the UK'

Queen Elizabeth II was Britain’s longest-serving monarch and often acted as its chief communications officer.


PR has a PR problem

Public relations is a valuable and rewarding career on a par with professional services such as law and finance – but the PR industry needs to do a better job of communicating that to the brightest graduates.

Sunlit modern office with the words "Welcome Back" spelled out by hanging plants on the wall

5 things to watch post-Labor Day

With COVID-19 finally disappearing into the rear-view mirror the PR industry is returning from its summer break with plenty of items on its to-do list.

Kylie Jenner screen shot collage featuring Gloss Drip lip gloss

The sun is rising in the east and west for TikTok

Every communicator and marketer now needs to know how to operate effectively on TikTok, which has rapidly established itself as the most important social network for young consumers.

Headshots of Danny Astoria, Elisa Baker, Amina Colter, Felipe Ucros and Johanna Herrmann

40 Under 40: Inspiring communications drawn from inspiring talent

This year's diverse group of 40 Under 40 honorees lead by example in both expertly addressing the evolving challenges of modern-day PR while also giving back.