Friday PR Picks: PR blocks flow of information?

by coach on January 29, 2010

It’s been a busy week in the PR blogosphere. One of the posts that caught my eye was by Jack O’Dwyer (PR blocks the flow of information) captured on Katie Paine’s The Measurement Standard blog. It’s a surprisingly cynical and negative comment on the role of public relations pros from someone who’s made a living covering the PR business for more than 40 years.

I just had to respond!

It’s a goofy article where O’Dwyer starts off by stating “Most PR people are in hiding these days from any face-to-face encounters with reporters (or even telephone conversations). Press conferences are almost nonexistent.” Wrong, Jack!

Let’s just say that any PR person that’s “hiding” will be out of a job very soon. Most of my colleagues love to interact with reporters and provide information that helps good reporters do their job better.

O’Dwyer then goes on to claim that “Most PR people most of the time are blocking information flow.” Huh?

I wonder what Jack’s been smoking?

Most PR professionals follow the highest ethical standards such as those of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Code of Ethics. One of the Core Principles is the “free flow of information.” And any PR or government public information officer who blocks information soon finds that the media become serious enemies.

That’s not to say there aren’t bad PR practitioners. There are also lots of biased or silly articles published by reporters without backing up their claims. There are so many superb PR professionals, as O’Dwyer very well knows, that I’m confused by his premise.

He’s right that “PR is dialogue.” But press conferences these days are “old news” and aren’t really a true dialogue. Savvy PR people know that there’s no point calling a news conference without real “news.”

Finally, there are so many new social media channels with direct, two-way contact with journalists, customers, investors and other key groups that busy PR people don’t have time to hide or worry about grumpy writers.

In contrast to O’Dwyer, the Tiger Woods incident actually reinforces the fact that bloggers have a critical role. Tiger‘s infidelities were covered up by golf sportswriters and trade press. In fact, the story was broken broken not by a journalist but by a blogger.

Anyways, it was a strange piece that wandered aimlessly, had nothing to do with research and was way off the mark on the importance of bloggers and the critical role PR plays in keeping an open information flow and dialogue.

Lots more to read in this Friday’s PR Picks

Friday PR Picks

Public Relations
10 lists every public relations professional can learn from [Fresh Ideas]
25 tips from 25 PR experts [e-releases]
Boilerplating the “About” copy [The Bad Pitch Blog]
Changing paradigms: At what point does PR become marketing? [Copywrite, Inc]
Build a better online newsroom [Journalistics]
NBC: A corporate PR disaster [The Bad Pitch Blog]
PR blocks the flow of information [The Measurement Standard: Blog Edition]

Social Media
25 women that rock social media
[Online Marketing Blog]
47 lists of bloggers to watch in 2010
– Check them out [Problogger]
Facebook for public relations
[Journalistics]
How to use social media to bridge professional and social networks
[John Haydon]
In defense of ghost blogging: Social media ethical dilemmas
[PR Squared]
Journalists restrict their news sources to Facebook and Twitter
[All Facebook]
Pope to priests: For God’s sake, blog!
[NY Daily News]
Social media is finally about the media
[The Social – CNET News]

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