Welcome to my redesigned online review. It’s got one big new feature: it handles essay-length material better. These pieces are intended to last longer than your average blog. That’s part of my wider mission now. I want to sketch out some scenarios for the future of PR and produce a book about them. They are mostly to do with how respectable our business ought to be.
When I launched this site in October 2009, my Big Idea was that PR was getting less honest as it got more goody-goody and bossy. I argued that it had fallen in love with the Corporate Social Responsibility model that it was selling to its customers. One big problem was that PRs started to pretend they could serve two masters, or even dozens. They could serve their client, and Society, and any “stakeholders” who came along.
A few years down the line, my book will explore the origins of PR in Classical Greece and elsewhere. I’m going to trace our trade from ancient to the modern times, when it became a pseudo-academic study like journalism. I’m going to thrash out whether PR is a trade or a profession, or both at different times. The kind of issue I’m interested in is this: are PRs like lawyers who are supposed to take any client but play by certain rules and are kept honest by adversaries? Or are we obliged to pick our clients carefully? If so, how dirty can we fight?
This site will trail some of my thinking as it emerges. As usual, I’m hoping that my readers will hold my feet to the fire and improve the way I think.