I know that ABC PR recently published a post regarding how PR professionals are viewed and I wanted to delve into that a little further. I recently found a somewhat shocking article that discusses the negative side of PR. The article, The Truth About PR Disasters, discusses the role that PR specialists play in crisis management. However, the article theorizes that whereas once our role involved managing any client crisis, in today’s world PR practitioners are, “increasingly being ‘outed’ as the perpetrators of the catastrophic errors of judgment and ethics that create or catalyze PR disasters.”
In my mind it is astonishing how often PR practitioners are viewed as “spin doctors”. This idea really hit home with me when I was at a car dealership the other day. My mom was talking with a car salesman about financing and during their discussion he asked what I was studying in school and my mom said public relations. His reaction was one of astonishment and judgment. Why would I want to go into THAT particular field? My mom agreed with him right away. It was amazing to me how quickly a car salesman passed judgment on me and my future profession.
The question now is, how do we change the negative image that those in the PR field have? Is it enough to adhere to an organization’s code of ethics, or hope to follow our own ethics? Personally, I believe that the bad choices of a few have lasting effects on the rest of us and it is going to take a lot more than simply making good choices to clean up our image.