A Tale of Two Cities


PR Week’s “PR Person of the Century” Harold Burson has lately described our industry in Dickensian terms: “the best of times, the worst of times.”

Between the new reputational lows from agency scandals or the bridge-and-tunnel party promoters who many now believe epitomize what we do as professionals, the PR industry remains a most misunderstood calling.

When I think of the best and worst of times, I’m led to the Bush Administration. Most in our line of business, I dare say, believe that the PR practices deployed by this administration may be the most efficient (and effective) in history. They give kudos to the masters of spin in the White House. Nothing sticks. Agendas advance.

Conversely, following the massive corporate scandals, there is a growing movement within the business world for greater transparency in constituency communications. “It’s the right thing to do,” many proclaim. Those who embrace it are reaping the rewards for their new-found corporate social responsibility.

So what is good PR: the ability to command and control the message? Or a fresh openness and honesty that embraces those whose lives your decisions affect?

Enjoy your Memorial Day weekend.