This week in PR (21 December)

About the author

Richard Bailey Hon FCIPR is editor of PR Academy's PR Place Insights. He teaches and assesses undergraduate, postgraduate and professional students.

The good bit about dark morning starts ?? @pollyakielan
The good bit about dark morning starts ?? @pollyakielan

In the news

  • ‘The truth is that the news is dying, but journalism will not — and should not.’ Hossein Derakhshan predicts the future of journalism for Nieman Labs.
  • Jack O’Dwyer has died at the age of 85. He chronicled the public relations business for 50 years through his newsletter.
  • Here’s a list of top 50 players in the world of influencer marketing, from Talking Influence.


  • A study of engagement at work by Ashridge Executive Education at Hult International Business School ‘challenges traditional binary notions of engagement or disengagement and questions if engagement surveys present the true story when it comes to team engagement’. This study was reported in the BBC with the dramatic headline: ‘Self-promoters’ do nothing but still get ahead at work
  • Tom Watson: From academic to student: reflections on the experience (18 December)
    ‘The trend to treat students as academic consumers has implied there should be instant responses by email and through short-notice meetings. This consumerism just leads to stress on staff and short-termism whereas a scheduled meeting leads to greater consideration issues by staff and students.’

Insights and opinions: Pick of the posts

These are the editor’s pick of posts about public relations this week (UK focused, but with a global outlook). Recommendations are welcome to [email protected] or @pr_place

Purpose and professionalism

  • Thomas Stoeckle: Do the right thing (17 December)
    ‘Ethics is not a collection of abstract statements, to be framed and hung on a wall. Ethics is everyday practice, small decisions adding up to larger decisions, adding up to an organisation’s character.’
  • Paul Cheal: Smoke Signal Episode 11: Is PR true to label? [podcast] (16 December)
    ‘It’s a question I’ve asked all guests. Do they believe the term ‘public relations’ describes what we do today? Is PR in need of a rebrand or do we need to define it better?’
  • Amanda Coleman: 2018 PRedictions: The year PR proves its worth (no date)
    ‘I feel 2019 could be the year that we regain the confidence in what we do and that we will finally speak loudly and proudly about our work.’
  • Alex Malouf: Making the Shift from Tactics to Strategy – Communications in Emerging Markets (14 December)
    ‘The role of the modern-day communicator is both exciting and daunting. Where once we had a limited set of media to engage with, now our stakeholder base can include thousands or even millions thanks to the reach of social media.’

Consulting and sectors

  • Ching Han-Wan: Why ‘debunking myths’ is the biggest PR myth of all (18 December)
    ‘As communicators of science, health and technology stories, we should focus on seeding ideas versus declaring revolutions. And that is why the biggest myth in PR is the need to ‘debunk myths’.’
  • Robert Roessler: Going, going, gone: the future of cash (18 December)
    ‘Governments keep cash alive because it is a social method of making payments. It is accessible to everyone and it does not discriminate against anyone.’
  • Daniel Lowther: The 10 Dos and Don’ts of B2B fintech PR (18 December)
    ‘No matter how tempting it may be to shout about a big partnership or customer in the pipeline, don’t mention it until it is a done deal. The partner or customer may not like you jumping the gun which could be detrimental for both the deal and your reputation.’
  • Stephen Waddington: An A to Z guide to marketing and PR agency management (17 December)
    ‘I caught up with David Brain recently on a visit to London. His presentation guide on agency management is a must read for anyone in the business. This A to Z has been inspired by his wisdom.’

Careers and skills

  • Ezri Carlebach: Awards and rewards (18 December)
    ‘I asked a few people what they thought was meant by ‘systems thinking skills’ [and] the definition I found most useful is probably the simplest; how to think and behave in increasingly complex systems.’
  • Advita Patel: Five key tips on pushing your boundaries… (18 December)
    ‘If you want to keep on progressing and be seen as a trusted source in your profession then you have no option but to keep on learning.’
  • Marcel Klebba: Why every junior should read RESET by David Sawyer (16 December)
    ‘David writes about finding purpose and enjoying the career. He covers worldview and values. While it’s undoubtedly useful for those in the middle of their journey, I’d argue those at the start line will advance their careers when they try to figure out some answers. ‘

Politics and public affairs

Gender and diversity

  • Holly Justice: Banning harmful gender stereotypes from adverts should be applauded (17 December)
    ‘Although I welcome this new ruling, I’m gobsmacked by the number of modern-day brands that haven’t yet woken up to new realities but maintain an old-fashioned stance on gender. The fact that the industry watchdog needs to intervene is proof of the toxic attitudes towards gender still shared by some brands.’

Brands and influence

  • Scott Guthrie: Instagram creator accounts: what’s their real purpose? (17 December)
    ‘The new growth insights will give creators weekly and daily data around how their follower count has changed. The feature, which works across the feed, Stories and IGTV, will also show creators what content they created so that they can understand what may have led to a spike in new followers or a decline in that fan base.’

Crisis and reputation

  • Tony Langham: 2019: Uncertainty = Opportunity (no date)
    ‘There is a major opportunity to unite all colleagues behind the purpose of the organisation. In an uncertain world, a business can offer certainty – of social purpose and of objectives.’
  • Sheena Thomson: Keyboard crimes and crisis communications (14 December)
    ‘Building cyber resilience and mitigating the risk of cyberattack is now a top boardroom agenda item, as reputations and share prices tumble following such breaches.’

Internal communication

Media and digital

  • Charlotte Stoel: Seven Trends for 2019 (17 December)
    ‘As trust in major social networks declines, there will be a slow and gentle backlash against digital channels.’

#prstudent #bestPRblogs

After 11 weeks and 103 posts from 43 students at 10 different universities, it’s time to pause and review the standings at the mid-point of the academic year. There are in reality two contests: for best individual, and for top university. So here are two league tables.

Position Name (university) # Appearances
1 Orlagh Shanks (Liverpool John Moores) 11
2 Heida Inghildsdottir (Leeds, PG) 10
3 Yana Miladinova (Bournemouth) 9
4 Niamh Murray (Ulster) 8
5 Lottie Wiltshire (South Wales, PG) 7
6 Lucy Hayball (Bournemouth) 6
7 Elian Owen (South Wales, PG) 5
8 Andrea Price (South Wales, PG) 4
9= Silje Bekkelund (South Wales, PG) 3
9= Aoibheann McCormack (Liverpool John Moores) 3
Position University # Students featured # Appearances
1 South Wales 8 27
2 Ulster 16 24
3 Bournemouth 2 15
4 Liverpool John Moores 2 14
5= Leeds Beckett 9 10
5= Leeds 1 10