If you want to validate the PR profession, don’t do this…

posted by Brendan Hodgson

In the category of things that might effectively neuter the future viability of PR, I offer you this direct from the Bulldog Reporter’s 2008 Bulldog Awards brochure:

“Who better to assess the work of PR professionals than the most important audience for your work? Our 20 journalist judges are tough but enthusiastic supporters of media relations excellence.”

Without question, traditional media relations remains a critical component of the PR toolkit, and will remain so for the forseeable future. The reach and credibility of the mainstream media (for the most part) is still vital to influencing perception and behaviour. But what cannot be ignored, however, is that this perceived supremacy is being challenged by the ability of an organization to reach and engage its “real” audiences directly (meaning customers, employees, communities, governments, etc.), to mobilize advocates and galvanize support and endorsement beyond the media itself. Furthermore, and in specific instances, effective PR is about not engaging with the mainstream media at all. So why define PR success in such narrow terms?

Quite simply, if we as an industry continue to believe in and support the notion that PR is synonymous with media relations (and that the journalist is the “most important” audience) at the expense of everything else we could and should be doing, then the battle for future legitimacy will be lost without a shot being fired.



Dave Fleet

Well spotted, Brendan. I agree – while they’re right in that the mainstream media is still an important audience, there should be some balance in their judging line-up. How disappointing.

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