Last month, a PR guy named Lloyd Trufelman floated the idea that perhaps PR firms should donate some money to the Committee to Protect Journalists, as a good will gesture to honor all the reporters who get killed every year (65, in 2007). What does he think PR is, a freaking charity? One brave PR executive was willing to stand up and say: give me a break with this bleeding heart suck up crap!
"With all due apologies to the family and friends of slain journalists, give me a break. Does Trufelman not read the various and sundry bashings of the PR industry by the media? Does he not see the journalism-PR relationship as a mutually beneficial one? Would journalists ever contribute money to a 'Committee to Protect PR People' who might also work in high-risk zones? (I'm joking, btw). Last, but not least, is Trufelman's plea not akin to slapping a PBA sticker on one's car windshield to avoid paying speeding tickets?
Me thinks he's sucking up big time to the working press."
That's from the blog of Steve Cody, a.k.a. the "Rep Man," who leads a PR agency called Peppercom, which had 2007 fees of $11.8 million (Cody was also an occasional source of mine when I was at PRWeek). Now, Cody is doubtless expressing the true feelings of lots of PR people on this matter—I haven't seen any reports of millions of dollars rolling in to CPJ from flacks lately. But there's a few problems with his reasoning.
1. There is no "Commitee to Protect PR People." (it's called pliant reporters, ha.)
2. Saying "screw them cause they don't like me" is poor form when you're talking about people who have been murdered.
3. Is Trufelman trying to suck up to the press? Probably so! But um, that's a major part of what PR people do on a daily basis. Maybe he's just trying to marginally improve the industry's shitty image amongst both the press and the public.
Oh well, shows how much I know about PR. Cody—who ironically reps the Columbia Journalism Review—told O'Dwyer's that "While it was meant to be tongue-in-cheek, the point is valid: few journalists are overtly supportive of PR (or will acknowledge the role we play in providing them with leads, angles, etc.). Sadly, many seem to take great delight in bashing our profession."
Which is true. The heartless fuckers.