This week in PR (30 November)

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.

Shanghai sunrise @ajdevenish
Shanghai sunrise @ajdevenish


  • Research by The Sutton Trust into unpaid internships suggests 70% of graduates have completed at least one unpaid internship. Many interns and employers are confused over what’s legal.
  • CIPR has announced 11 new Chartered Practitioners: Marie-Christine Ashby, Lucie Culkin, Wasantha Darshana, Emma Drake, Claire Fleming, David Glanville, Carl Harvey, Ruth Jackson, Claire Robson, Rachel Royall, Lisa Waterman.
  • The 2018 Political Engagement Index is a report by Transparency International into how multinational companies disclose their political engagement (to include political donations and lobbying).
  • 71 people have been elected on to the PRCA Council. Here are their names.
  • There are representatives from 10 countries on the new AMEC board
  • Here is the Comms2point0 Unawards shortlist
  • Vuelio blog award winners are announced tonight


  • Universities are to hold an investigation into grade inflation in the sector (The Guardian reports). ‘About three out of every four graduates at UK universities are now awarded a 2:1 or above.’
  • A fifth edition of Exploring Public Relations is planned for 2020. But we will have to stop calling it ‘Tench and Yeomans’ and start getting used to ‘Tench and Waddington’. Liz Yeomans begins the process of retiring in 2019 and Stephen Waddington has agreed to step into this role.

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

  • Robert Phillips: ‘Progressive PR’ cannot be a feeble branding exercise; it just smacks of insincerity [PR Week paywall] (29 November)
    ‘Trust Me, PR is Dead called for a shift from public relations to public leadership – a much-needed signal of change. Instead, for the last half-decade, we have seen countless justifications and weak arguments for evolution, not radical transformation.’
  • Ella Minty: On Purpose and Community – a Story of Us (29 November)
    ‘Bringing world-class practitioners together to show communicators in the Gulf and other parts of the emerging world how they can step up their craft, be recognised for everything that they can give to their organisations and stakeholders, and be proud that they work in Public Relations is PURPOSE 1.0.’
  • Mike Love: Populist capitalism. Populist PR. Changing or already changed times? (27 November)
    ‘I worked in the business of persuasion in corporate communications and political campaigning for all of the 40 years of my career. That’s what “PR” was and is to me. However, in recent years that view of PR as a being a transactional service has been challenged.’
  • Michael White: Business best serves society by focusing on its bottom line (27 November)
    ‘In my view, the only way business can operate is by focusing on the bottom line. In fact, it’s dangerous for PR to not advocate for the focus on the financial business outcome.’

Consulting, skills and careers

  • Deb Sharratt: 9 challenges independent PR practitioners face every day – and how to overcome them (27 November)
    ‘My most empowering moments as an independent practitioner has been when I’ve said no to contracts. Lucrative contracts too.’
  • Paul Sutton: Digital Download podcast: The one where I’ve got something to say (28 November)
    ‘I’ve decided to voice my frustrations… The [recognition] is only going to come by doing the best work and talking about it. Let’s not bother about whether we’re called PR or public relations or communications.’
  • Lucinda Kingham: Generalists vs Specialists: How to strike a balance (27 November)
    ‘Traditionally, PRs were seen to be generalists. We worked on media relations, strategy, social, video and more. But in recent years, the pendulum has shifted, and we are seeing more and more PRs specialising in certain skills such as SEO or app development.’
  • Stephen Waddington: 8 lessons from the ICCO World PR Report (27 November)
    ‘An international public relations report suggests that the industry is set to see growth worldwide but that measurement remains a work in progress.’
  • Hamish Thompson: The case for doing the opposite (26 November)
    ‘The next time you consider what feels like a logical and orthodox choice, take a moment to consider the opposite. In life, we are often blinded by convention – to our considerable cost.’

Politics and public affairs

  • Nick Barron: We can fix politics from within (26 November)
    ‘We can all play a part in reversing the political and social polarisation that is making compromise, consensus and collaboration impossible. But we need to take a look at ourselves in the mirror.’

Public and third sectors

Gender and diversity

Measurement and evaluation

  • Nadin Vernon: Integrated Measurement in the Age of Industry 4.0 (24 November)
    ‘Traditionally, PR and marketing are siloed and clearly defined functions. However, because of the way brands are adopting social media platforms, the lines between PR and marketing have blurred.’

Brands and influence

  • Scott Guthrie: Instagram influencers and tone deaf keyword squatting (23 November)
    ‘The social web has democratised the media. The power formerly seated within media mastheads has atomised to the individual. Today anyone who can consistently create compelling content can find and nurture an audience online.’

Crisis and reputation

  • Claire Walker: Reputation reinstatement – How to fix a slipped halo (27 November)
    ‘Your image is what you try to portray, your reputation is how you’re held in people’s esteem. It’s made up of a multitude of different aspects, including elements that many businesses can forget or neglect – from your actual services and products, workplace culture and charity work to company vision and financial performance. Ultimately, these elements all feed into emotional appeal and trust – that’s the crux of your reputation.’
  • Thomas Stoeckle: SDF Podcast 23: Pretty crazy ideas about the Facebook (25 November)
    ‘As for the ‘naïveté defense: Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg were never naïve, certainly not commercially. From its initial public offering in 2012 to its peak mid-2018, Facebook’s share price went from $38 to $207, or 33% of compounded annual growth, by doing ever better what it does best – being attractive to advertisers.’
  • Jennifer Sanchis: Organisations can and should be ready when a crisis hits (24 November)
    ‘In essence, crises become existential crises when the organisation’s promise is undermined by something that has been done or is being done by the organisation. Understanding this promise will be of crucial importance because we can already prepare and predict what can be the most detrimental to reputation.’
  • Gemma Storey: The perils of the gamer backlash (23 November)
    ‘Gamers are a passionate bunch – one minute they love a game developer – the next they’re ripping them to shreds on Reddit, launching campaigns and starting a backlash.’

Internal communication

  • Mike Klein: Defending our Turf… or leapfrogging into leadership (29 November)
    ‘The case for people with deep IC grounding for leapfrogging into the key prizes in the worlds of communication leadership – the most exalted senior communicator roles and leadership positions, is becoming increasingly credible.’
  • Advita Patel: Three top tips to help leaders communicate effectively (27 November)
    ‘We’ve all worked in organisations where we’ve seen certain leaders promoted due to their technical skills rather than people skills, which can cause us IC folk a world of pain.’
  • Jenni Field: What’s the rush? (27 November)
    ‘I have a passion for understanding organisations. Getting underneath the strategy, financial goals and organisational charts to really understand how it works is probably the main reason I became an expert in internal communication.’
  • Helen Deverell: How to audit your internal communcations for future success (26 November)
    ‘I’m frequently asked to run internal communication audits for clients and it’s one of my favourite types of work to do. I love getting under the skin of an organisation, speaking to people about what really matters to them and having the opportunity to make a real difference.’
  • Hannah Claffey: The cost of not listening: What you eat in private, you wear in public (26 November)
    ‘Most IC pros will agree that employee voice and two-way engagement between management and staff is crucial to carrying out effective communication.’

Campaigns and creativity

  • Matt Brown: Overcoming the blank page and becoming a Creative Ninja (no date)
    ‘The approach that really seemed to resonate with me was the “questionstorm”. Whereas a brainstorm is focused around finding solutions, the questionstorm is entirely concerned with simply asking as many questions as possible.’

Media and digital

#prstudent #bestPRblogs

Editor’s note: There are more posts to consider than I can include here. So I’m issuing monthly challenges to help me select. December: I’m looking for book reviews (you choose the book). January: Your reflections on health (mental, physical and/or financial).

Bonus post: Marcel Klebba is no longer a PR student, but here he is addressing students on the topic of blogging.

  • Marcel Klebba (Westminster graduate): CIPR student event: Why bother PR blogging (29 November)
    ‘I summed up my presentation by saying that blogging is a thankless task and it’s [not] an easy challenge. But it’s worthwhile. Don’t overthink starting a blog. Learn every day and enjoy the process.’

Current students

  • Lucy Hayball (Bournemouth): #ThursdayThought on the future of PR with Molly Aldridge (29 November)
    ‘The more we talk about what we do best and how we can help brands to engage with the right audience resulting in cultural and commercial impact, the more public relations will be seen as a necessary, strategic channel that should sit at the heart of any comms planning.’
  • Scout Dobbin (Ulster): What To Expect When You’re Expecting (29 November)
    ‘To anyone who has clicked on this post thinking that I’m pregnant or that I am offering pregnancy advice, I’m afraid you’re out of luck. But thanks for clicking. I’m actually writing about what to expect when you’re expecting a placement.’
  • Heiða Ingimarsdóttir (Leeds): Teachers: Real life influencers (29 November)
    ‘The last year or so I have contacted people from the past and thanked them. For an example I called or messaged some of the people that played a role in my case when I was in foster care.’
  • Elian Owen (South Wales): Thinking outside the box(ing) (28 November)
    ‘Quite simply what boxing does to a greater effect than perhaps any other sport is it generates hype. To sell fights they rely on press junkets which essentially are PR campaigns.’
  • Niamh Murray (Ulster): Has Social Media Made Us Anti-Social? (28 November)
    ‘There’s few things I hate more than when you’re out with someone and they just sit on their phone instead of talking to you.’
  • Orlagh Shanks (Liverpool John Moores): Stop the Press! Is the End in Sight for Print Publications? (28 November)
    ‘PR is slowly shifting to Influencer Marketing as news outlets are now seen as less influential and trustworthy than bloggers and social Influencers.’
  • Alejandro Lopez (Leeds Beckett): Is there attraction on the Web 2.0? (27 November)
    ‘We have been provided with everything we desire in great quantities: information, truth, lies, sex, love, porn, distraction, ideas, and above all: abundance.’
  • Olivia McVeigh (Ulster): Business Owner at 18 : Promotion through Social Media (27 November)
    ‘I opened my own freelance makeup business in March 2017 at the rare age of 18. I had absolutely no clients and no clue how to get them. Now, over a year and a half on I have a big client base, my own premises.’
  • Silje Bekkelund (South Wales): International Men’s Day… do we need it? (26 November)
    ‘Men are more likely to consume alcohol excessively, more likely to engage in violent and risky behaviors and less likely to admit pain, seek medical advice or have a strong social network where they can ask for help.’