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Sharing Time: > Public Relations Make Me Sad

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message 1: by RandomAnthony (new)

RandomAnthony | 14536 comments Ok, I'm just going to come out and say this as straight as I can.

I assume 99% of the people involved in press conferences, interviews, etc. have been coached in how to respond by someone involved in public relations. In turn, I don't perceive 99% of what people have to say in these situations to be an authentic response. I guess there's nothing wrong with being prepared, but public relations are so manipulative that time and time again I assume the responses are so rehearsed and modified for effect that I've grown cynical about authenticity.


message 2: by Félix (last edited Mar 01, 2010 05:40AM) (new)

Félix (habitseven) I understand your point of view.

It's unfortunate, but these days the news media are so danged aggressive and unrelenting. Organizations just pretty much have to be prepared for "authentic" expressions to be used in a way that is not a true interpretation of the facts. If they aren't cautious and defensive, they end up being taken out of context and smeared.

It's sad, for sure. But it's the way it is.

I'm interested in Misha's take on this.

message 3: by Kevin (new)

Kevin  (ksprink) | 11469 comments but if they are authentic many sound like an ignorant ass

message 4: by [deleted user] (new)

Kevin "El Liso Grande" wrote: "but if they are authentic many sound like an ignorant ass"

See, I could accept someone for being an ass if they were honest, I may not agree with them but I could accept them.

This is what interests me about our political system. Are we really voting for the person presented to us, or the PR version? What we are really voting for is the best PR manager. That is why the DEMS and REPS aren't really that different, because the PR managers for these people will not let them get to far from center in fear of alienating someone and losing votes.

message 5: by Kevin (new)

Kevin  (ksprink) | 11469 comments i don't mind a prepared speech if it can be delivered smoothly and with confidence. it is during a Q&A time that they get twisted up

message 6: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 13815 comments Part of public relations is keeping the media from manipulating you as well. Knowing which questions they'll spin out of context, and which box they're going to fit you into at the end of the day: hero, martyr, victim, idiot...

Jackie "the Librarian" | 8993 comments Most press conferences are a waste of time, I agree.

I also don't see any point to having two pr people on the news to present their sides of an issue, when it's not followed up by any kind of analysis by the reporters. I want objective information, not just the party line. I want to know how accurate is what the pr people are saying.

And that is what's missing from most newscasts these days.

message 8: by Misha (new)

Misha (ninthwanderer) Press conferences are the bane of my existence. They're really quite useless.

The best PR people from my perspective are not the ones who are the talking heads for their company, politician, etc., but the ones who facilitate me getting the information I need. The political flacks I deal with tend to be the latter, while corporate flacks tend to be the former. It's damn near impossible to talk to an actual human being who isn't a trained PR person at a corporation.

All information is managed these days. As a journalist, it's exceptionally difficult to cut through the bullshit. At least with government, there are public records that can sometimes be used to fact check the politicians, but the records of private corporations are closed and there's no way to get to the truth absent someone being brave enough to be a whistleblower, and then you have to evaluate whether they're just holding a grudge because they got fired, etc.

The other thing to consider in this discussion is that because of the economy and what's happened to the news industry, journalists have left in droves. Guess where they went? PR people far outnumber the journalists these days, and we remaining few can only do so much.

message 9: by Misha (new)

Misha (ninthwanderer) Here's an example of what I mentioned in my comment above. Today I've been assigned to write the monthly job numbers story because our business reporter is out of the country for the month. One of the things our regional economist is telling me is that we've seen growth in food processing jobs. ConAgra (and its subsidiary Lamb Weston) has a strong presence in my community and accounts for a lot of those jobs.

So I called the local Lamb Weston office to talk to someone about what's happening with their industry that they're hiring people in town. I was told that I'm not allowed to talk to anyone local. I have to talk to some talking head in Omaha, who will write down my question, call the local person and get an answer, and then call me back to tell me the answer. But I can't actually talk to the local person with my softball of a question.

Except the person I need to talk to in Omaha isn't there, so I'm told I have to talk to someone in Eagle, Idaho, which is at least a little closer to my town, but still in another state. So my local readers can't hear from a person in their own community about something happening in their community and instead have to hear from someone hundreds of miles away because ConAgra wants to micromanage every bit of information that it can about its operations. The end result will be that ConAgra gets portrayed as a distant, faceless, inhuman monolith because it can't risk giving itself a human face. And who trusts a monolith?

Corporate PR sucks, and quite frankly I think it's bad public relations strategy.

Rumble rumble snurgh.

message 10: by RandomAnthony (new)

RandomAnthony | 14536 comments That's fascinating, Misha...

Ok, now this guy definitely could have used some public relations training. The Chicago fire commissioner is accused of sexual harassment and this was his response:

"I have never sexually harassed any woman or man in my life. I do not proposition women. I don't have to. Women usually proposition me. God has blessed me like that," Brooks said."


message 11: by janine (new)

janine | 7715 comments that's so terrible it made me laugh.

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