Tom Murphy at PR Opinions has an interesting post about the need for PR practitioners to educate people about PR.
Tom cites a post by Richard Edelman on how the PR business must address the misperception of Public Relations.
In essence Edelman outlines five elements:
- We need to showcase the diversity of PR practice (i.e. it's not all about astroturfing)
- We must promote transparency
- We must actively counter accusations about PR
- We need enforecement against rogue practices
- We need to do this as an industry
But Tom goes further, arguing:
Much of the misinformation that circulates about PR, is built on ignorance. What the PR industry needs to do, in addition to Richard's steps above, is to work with the media to help consumers understand how the media works, how PR works and how the two intersect.
.... in a world where consumers are educated on the media, PR starts to get back to what it is actually about: good communication. PR practitioners must begin to realize that the illusion of control is just that, an illusion. The Internet has created an environment where information flows freely.
What I think we need to do, is work with the media to educate the audience. This should ideally begin in school. Given the importance of the media, kids should be taught how it works, including PR's role. This is an important element of helping to clarify what PR is, and equally importantly, what it's not.
Wouldn't it be nice if your mummy didn't think you were a spin doctor?