This week in PR (4 January)

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.

In the news

  • Emma Leech is this year’s CIPR president, taking over from Sarah Hall. President-elect for next year is Jenni Field. This is the first three-year run of female presidents in the institute’s 70 year history.
  • Following the CIPR’s 70th anniversary celebrations last year, 2019 marks 50 years of the PRCA.
  • New Year’s Honours: Richard Stephenson, Civil Aviation Authority comms director received a OBE for public and charitable service; Lynette Adjei, Marketing Officer, Birmingham City Council, received an MBE for services to adoption and fostering recruitment; Saeed Atcha MCIPR, charity CEO, has an MBE for services to young people in Manchester; Samantha Schiaffino, personal assistant to the corporate affairs director at nPower, received a BEM for services to Macmillan Cancer.
  • Has Twitter replaced media briefings? It appears so in the case of the White House. The Guardian reports that press briefings by the president’s spokesperson are now being held less frequently. ‘[Sarah] Sanders gave 11 briefings in January, seven in February, eight in March, eight in April, eight in May, five in June, three in July, five in August, one in September, two in October and one in November.’


  • Clare Parker: A year in research (30 December)
    ‘I’m learning to critique and question everything. It’s like being a young child again. Honestly, it’s a liberating experience which is having implications in my workplace, too. Accepting the way we do things “because that’s the way things have always been done” is now something I challenge.’

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 or @pr_place

Purpose and professionalism


  • Sarah Hall: Five things to expect from your PR practitioner (3 January)
    ‘Public relations is highly misunderstood. It’s much more than media relations and crisis management and when employed strategically, helps an organisation to decide its what, why and how – its purpose for being.’
  • Natasha Hill: Zappy New Year. Re-energise: Bottle’s New Year Resolution (2 January)
    ‘Avoid – at all costs – thinking of journalists as our only target. Earned influence is so much broader. Always think about the consumer audience first, and then, who they will take advice from, who they trust, who they will believe.’
  • Ben Smith with James Herring: The PRmoment podcast (2 January)
    ‘Media and showbiz was what I wanted to do. My first big break was Channel 4 and Big Brother.’

Careers and skills

 Politics and public affairs

  • Euan Ryan: British politics in 2019: Groundhog year (2 January)
    ‘Crises aside, there is little prospect of wider issues rising up the political agenda in 2019 as long as Brexit uncertainty remains.’

Public and third sectors

  • Richard Evans: 50 fastest growing charities on Twitter in 2018 (3 January)
    ‘With more than 830,000 followers, [The National Trust] has by far the biggest charity Twitter audience – almost 160,000 more than second-placed Macmillan Cancer Support.’
  • Amanda Coleman: ‘No fluff’ revisited (2 January)
    ‘This year I will mark 20 years in police communication and I am as proud of the work we do now as I was back in 1999 when I joined Merseyside Police. Someone asked me the other day why I did it and the answer was simple – I want to come home at night and know I will have helped someone. It may sound trite and idealistic, but it is still the truth.’
  • Dan Slee: A STORMY 2019: Some predictions for public sector comms and PR in the year ahead (28 December)
    ‘As the public embrace new technology such as voice to use the internet, the public sector lags behind. Weighed down by legacy systems and legacy attitudes many of those in the ship’s wheelhouse are poorly equipped to meet the dark clouds of 2019.’

 Gender and diversity

Crisis and reputation

Internal communication

  • Emma Bridger: Employee Engagement in 2019 – My thoughts and hopes (no date)
    ‘Employee experience definitely had a moment in 2018, with lots of debates raging on twitter and LinkedIn about the similarities and differences, and whether employee engagement has had its day.’

Brands and influence

Campaigns and creativity

  • Robyn Vinter: If you don’t get the hype around Greggs vegan sausage roll, let me explain (3 January)
    ‘Greggs is popular because its food is cheap, yes, but it’s also good quality. It is. It’s hot from the oven, not hot from spending two hours on a warmer — something you can’t say about Pret, for example.’
  • Hamish Thompson: 20, 19 (1 January)
    ‘Looking back through the long lens of history, pluck, ambition, risk and imagination got us to the moon way ahead of when we might have.’

Media and digital

  • Mark Borkowski: Crystal ball gazing: Top 5 media trends for 2019 (3 January)
    ‘In an increasingly ‘woke’ world characterised by data breaches, hacking and fake news, the media world is becoming ever more difficult to predict.’
  • Michael White: Businesses will scrutinise premeditated fake news in 2019 (2 January)
    ‘Welcome to the dark arts of communication. A place where business pitches against business, using people and bots to place fake reviews on a Google Review listing. Whole networks of spam websites are created to negatively impact the search engine results of competitors.’
  • Arianne Smart: Accuracy over exclusivity (28 December)
    ‘Journalists “still say their most valuable and trusted piece of PR content is the traditional press release… provided they’re giving them information that’s accurate, newsworthy, and that can be used to enhance their coverage.”

#prstudent #bestPRblogs

  • Orlagh Shanks (Liverpool John Moores): 2019: New Year, Same Me, New Goals (1 January)
    ‘I need to start seriously thinking about what I’m going to do after graduation and where I want to be. Do I want to be in the same place this time next year? After watching people from my town celebrate the New Year in places like Australia, Thailand and New York, absolutely not.’
  • Katya Hamilton-Smith (LCC/UAL): 2018: wrapping up the year (31 December)
    ‘I worked hard to secure work placements and was unsuccessful in many but I learnt that the most important thing you can do is pick yourself up and try again. I ended up working in three jobs that all taught me something different and contributed to one of the best summers of my life and if I’d not taken the different opportunities as they came around this wouldn’t have been the case.’