Does The Public Relations Industry Have A PR Problem?

You just have to read this one for yourself. Legendary PR guy Howard J. Rubinstein, writing in the Huffington Post:

In fact, if I’ve learned anything over the course of my 53 years in the business, it’s that the most important tool any PR pro has is his or her reputation for personal ethics and integrity, qualities that are — paradoxically — too seldom associated with the public’s perception of the industry.
If the industry’s image continues to be so trivialized and the substance behind its practice so widely misperceived, I fear public relations professionals are in danger of losing their hard-won seats at the table advising leaders in our most important corporations and organizations. And I worry that someday people entering the business — and some who have been in it awhile — may be tempted to take short cuts, to violate the basic ethical foundation that is essential if public relations is to retain its ability to reach and inform the constituencies that are critical to the health and vigor of America’s businesses and institutions.

Uh, sure.
Now, I often wonder what we can do to garner the advertising industry a little more respect, but I know that much of what we do isn’t worthy of much respect. PR folks like Rubinstein ought to wake up to that same realization. Americans’ increasing distrust of, and lack of confidence in large corporations, institutions, and government is largely due to the handiwork of flacks like Rubinstein.



About Dan Goldgeier

Dan Goldgeier is a Seattle-based freelance copywriter with experience at advertising agencies across the U.S. He is a graduate of the Creative Circus ad school, and currently teaches at Seattle's School of Visual Concepts. Dan is also a columnist for and the author of View From The Cheap Seats and Killer Executions and Scrubbed Decks.