This week in PR (29 September)

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.


Profession and ethics

  • Stephen Waddington: Lessons for Western practitioners from India’s public relations community (28 September)
    The real lesson of the conferences was the focus on developing public relations as a profession. Notably, most contemporary Indian practitioners have a formal qualification in public relations. Indeed, many are qualified at Masters level.’
  • Rajinder Kaur Mattu: Ethics – The Red Wolf of PR (no date)
    ‘We’re a trusted source of counsel who are often called upon to be the “voice of conscience” for an organisation. In moments of comms crisis however, it may not feel like that when the pressure is on and PR people are paid (or reminded that they’re paid) to save an organisation’s skin.’

Purpose, climate and ESG


  • Paul Sutton with John Brown: Need to know: Sustainable business communications [podcast] (27 September)
    ‘Let’s not make that [net zero] claim in the first place because it muddies the water on something that’s so important. [Comms and marketing people] lack a grasp of the science.’
  • MHP Group: UK public support for net zero has fallen since COP26 (26 September)
    A new report from MHP Group and Cambridge University’s Political Psychology Lab, released today, finds declining support for government action on climate change and an emerging divide between Left and Right-leaning voters on the desirability of achieving Net Zero by 2050.’
  • Mallika Basu: In today’s world, woke capitalism is capitalism (25 September)
    As the “woke minefield” grows, it raises important questions about what it involves and the implications for communicators. Like the term ESG, the word “woke” is deeply misunderstood. With its roots in African American Vernacular English, it describes the state of being awake or aware of injustice and discrimination.’

Consulting, skills and careers

  • Maja Pawinska Sims: The PR Network Evolves With New Service Offerings (27 September)
    The PR Network (PRN) has evolved its business in response to the changing needs of global clients, 18 years after it launched as the first remote-first agency.’
  • Siobhan Holt, Eliza Wiredu and John Harrington: Pay gaps, Gen Z, Xmas campaigns – PR Week podcast (27 September)
    ‘More than two thirds of Gen Z PR professionals listed training and career development as extremely important in the workplace, which shows they want to grow and develop as professionals.’
  • James Thorniley: Your PR budget has been cut. Now what? (no date)
    While retainers are always the long-term goal when budgets are high, projects rule when they are cut.’

Gender, diversity, health and wellbeing

  • Rosie Ngugi and Chynna Rhooms: Black History Month and the fear of ‘getting it wrong’ (28 September)Firstly, it is imperative that brands assess their ‘right to play’ when planning activity for Black History Month – this means an alignment between ‘brand say’ and ‘brand do’. In other words, has the appropriate interest and investment been shown in understanding Black communities to give a brand or organisation the right to engage with them?’
  • Claire Munro: Book Review: Building a Culture of Inclusivity (28 September)
    Published earlier this year, this is not just a book of communications tips, it seeks to spark a whole corporate mindset shift, putting inclusion at the heart of organisational strategy, with communicators leading the change. It skilfully defines the concepts of diversity, equality and inclusion, why they are intrinsic to organisational success, and the many implications which communicators must consider and act on.’
  • Ben Smith: How to improve the DE&I of PR agencies, Katie De Cozar on the PRmoment Podcast (27 September)
    ‘We’ve got work to do around the ethnicity pay gap. While you can see we’re increasing representation across the business, the more people we recruit – bearing in mind that we are much more likely to recruit at junior levels rather than senior levels – then that ethnicity pay gap can widen.’
  • John Harrington: Is UK PR closing its pay gaps? PRWeek spotlights DE&I progress [registration required] (26 September)
    It’s heartening that the average proportion of women in senior roles is now almost identical to that in the overall workforce. And while the average proportion of staff from ethnically diverse backgrounds actually fell slightly this year, the percentage working at senior levels rose, meaning the ‘seniority gap’ closed from 8.9 to 6.3 percentage points.’

Public and third sectors

Politics, public affairs and public sphere


  • Alex Otway: Just Build HS2 (28 September)
    ‘ If those pioneers who engineered and built the backbone of Britain were around today, they’d face the intractable opposition of an unholy alliance of NIMBYs and faux-environmentalists, and a political system that places their interests above those of the country.’
  • Andrew Smyth: Conservative Party Conference preview – will the real Rishi Sunak turn up? (28 September)
    ‘After almost a year in office, Sunak remains a largely unknown quantity to voters, with many of their preconceived opinions born from his time as Chancellor during the COVID-19 Pandemic, and through stories linked to his wealth. But are we finally seeing who the real Rishi Sunak is?’
  • Fraser Raleigh: What to expect from party conferences (28 September)
    This week the Liberal Democrats headed to the seaside for their get together in Bournemouth, where all the interest was in whether they can knock down even more bricks in the ‘blue wall’ of Conservative seats and – just maybe – find themselves holding the balance of power if Labour come up short in next year’s general election.’
  • Rebecca Coleman: The end of the line? (26 September)
    ‘Linkages to HS1 (St Pancras-Calais) and Heathrow were dropped at an early stage, followed by the eastern leg connecting Birmingham and Leeds in late 2021. Now, fresh rumours this week suggest that the line will no longer reach Manchester and in London, terminate at Old Oak Common.’
  • Simon Neville: Will Sunak’s U-turn on net zero see EV production start to stall? (26 September)
    ‘Unlikely as it seems that car makers would be flying the flag for environmental regulations to be implemented sooner, they said the decision by the government to push back a ban on new petrol and diesel cars by five years was deeply unhelpful.’
  • Stephan Lewandowsky and Jana Lasser: Donald Trump’s truth: why liars might sometimes be considered honest – new research (25 September)
    ‘Healthy political debate involves both fact-speaking and belief-speaking. Political ideas often cannot be contested based on facts alone, but also require beliefs and values to be taken into account. But democratic debate can be derailed if it is entirely based on the expression of belief irrespective of factual accuracy.’
  • Tom Frackowiak: Labour Spotlight – Key people for financial and professional services (22 September)
    Under Keir Starmer the Labour Party has reset its relationship with corporate Britain and reestablished itself with the financial and professional services sector (FPS) through a sustained charm offensive in the City and beyond.’
  • Mark Woolfson: Sunak draws battle lines over environment (22 September)
    ‘By delaying deadlines for phasing out new petrol and diesel cars until 2035 as well as scaling back requirements on phasing out new gas boilers, Rishi Sunak is seeking to give voters a clear choice between Tory and Labour environmental policy.’

Crisis, risk and reputation

  • Philippe Borremans: Crisis Communication: Unpacking ChatGPT’s Voice and Image Capabilities (25 September)
    During critical incidents, ChatGPT’s new voice, image, and multimodal elements could enable more effective briefings, verification, training, and public relations.’
  • Amanda Coleman: Putting things to the test (24 September)
    Testing and exercising the crisis communication plan is essential. It ensures that you can identify what needs to be amended, where there may be gaps and how to refine the approach.’

Behaviour and influence

  • Scott Guthrie: Just 5% of influencer spend targets Gen X (27 September)
    Gen X are responsible for 27% of global spending yet just 5% of influencer marketing spend goes to targeting them. A new report offers don’ts and dos for building a Gen X influencer strategy.’

Internal communication 


  • Naomi Kerbel: How to communicate to multi-generational workforces (27 September)
    ‘In the workforce of 2023, we have become delineated by generational segmentation, and some may argue that different generations need to be approached differently.’
  • Katie Macaulay with Michael Heller and Joe Chick: Tracing the legacy of internal comms [podcast] (27 September)
    ‘There is a form of internal comms before the 1870s. But it’s not internal comms, it’s just magazines, and internal comms as a managerial discipline, which looks at strategic communication, and looks at things like engagement, that’s actually a much newer idea.’
  • Sarah Browning: Why do employee networks matter to communicators? (26 September)
    As professional communicators, we know that understanding our audiences is crucial for effective communication. Employee networks present opportunities for communicators to listen and find out what is really going on.’
  • Jenni Field: Embracing neurodiversity to build stronger work relationships (26 September)
    ‘Embracing neurodiversity isn’t just about being nice; it’s about boosting productivity and innovation. When diverse minds come together, magic happens. Imagine brainstorming sessions where unconventional ideas flow freely or problem-solving teams that tackle challenges from every angle. That’s the power of neurodiversity.’

Media, digital and technology


  • Dan Gold with Farzana Baduel: Economics, Media, and Bridging Divides: A Conversation with Mehreen Khan

    (26 September)
    ‘Not only is she the youngest ever economics editor of The Times, she is also the first woman and the first ethnic minority person in this role.’

  • Neville Hobson: The hashtag needs a refresh, says the man who created it (26 September)
    ‘The hashtag has become ubiquitous on social media as a means of connecting conversations, topics and events. But 16 years after its invention, Chris Messina, the man who started it all, believes it’s time for an upgrade.’
  • David Sykes: The importance of image copyright in PR and marketing (25 September)
    Even if a photo has been shared and republished by billions of other people, it still belongs to the person who took it.’
  • Ann Wright: Radio interviews: techniques to improve delivery (25 September)
    ‘It may sound obvious, but when you do a radio or podcast interview, the listener can’t see you. They can’t see your expressions, your body language, your smile or frown, so all they have to judge you on is your voice. And generally, the listener is doing something else.’