Thursday, 1 March 2007

Interesting article about PR and truth

A majority of 350 people attending a debate on PR ethics voted against the team supporting the proposition that PR practitioners have a responsibility to tell the truth. The debate was hosted by the PR industry trade publication PR Week. The director of communications for the Church of England, Peter Crumpler, was disappointed with the result. "Truth and integrity have to be the cornerstones of our profession if we are to have any credibility with the media and the wider world," he said. Celebrity PR adviser Max Clifford and PR academic Simon Goldsworthy led the winning team that disagreed. Writing in PR Week, Daniel Rogers summarized their central premise as being "if you are not prepared to lie occasionally, you cannot do your job successfully."
SOURCE: PR Week, February 21, 2007


S'onlyme said...

I don't doubt that for some PRs, out and out fibbing is a default position. But I think for most, it's more a case of being economical and/or creative with The Truth.
Anyway, what is the truth when it's at home? Each of us has a different perception of it and we often believe our perceptions to be accurate in every detail.
To deny that there are pressures on PRs - and journalists for that matter - to be less than totally honest and transparent, is to be more than just a little naive.
I imagine a PR who completely lacked the lying gene could not expect to have a long and fulfilling career. Putting a spin on things is part of the human condition. And this isn't always done with malicious intent.
I saw the article you refer to online. Wish I'd been there!
Perfect PR in a perfect world...nice idea but it won't fly.

Mhairi said...

I agree. I think I'm right in saying that Max Clifford is from the "end justifying the means" school of thought and on this occasion, I tend to agree with him, however, does the end justify the means every time? I think that is what's open for debate.

Nic said...

I agree with both comments. It is naive to assume that PR's will not put a 'spin' on things (forgive me for using the dreaded term) but that's what it can be about, in some cases, spinning something negative into something less negative. As Trudy points out, truth is different things to different people; constructed, some might say. For example, neglecting to mention something - it may not be the whole truth but does that make it lying?
To look on the bright side, it's about looking on the bright side. And what would life be like without a bright side?