Comments have been made recently about the end of the PR industry as we know it no less austere places than the BBC and the Financial Times. The argument is that, with the proliferation of social media and the expansion of the digital world, PR is fighting for its survival.
In some cases that may be true – just as it is for newspapers and other traditional businesses.
But one fact highlighted in this debate is that PR people (at least in 2008) outnumbered journalists. The reason I would like to put forward is that PR is needed – and in a world where reputations are threatened from (and enhanced by) an ever widening range of media channels this is increasingly so.
And, dare I say it, in a world where over-stretched journalists are under enormous pressure to deliver a constant stream of different, accurate, in-depth and credible stories to out-do their rivals, PR officers are ever more vital.
So often PR is categorised as the poor relation of the media industry and yet we are essential facilitators, ensuring that our clients engage with the media in a meaningful and productive way that works for both parties. Some businesses feel that they have been treated unfairly by the media and s do not understand how it works; while others fear it. PR helps to ensure that good stories don’t go untold, and we have survived this far because we can adapt to different media, different audiences.
Standards vary in every industry and I’m sure PR is no different. But this is an industry that plays a much needed role and talk of our demise should be completely ignored.