Can the PR industry handle an inconvenient truth?

Those active on the UK PR Twitter scene will have noticed this morning’s launch of a Media Spamming Charter, the latest episode in the ongoing discussion about the relationship between PR practitioners and journalists. The debate is one that has raged for as long as I’ve been in the industry andshows no sign of abating. There’s hardly a week that goes by without a rant about poorly-targeted pitches or the overuse of the #PRFAIL hashtag. As someone who started off my PR career within a professional body, I recognise the need for a collaborative approach to improve and maintain standards within any industry and as such applaud the CIPRPRCA,IRS and NUJ for taking a stance on what is a serious problem for the reputation of PROs.

However, questions will always remain on how serious the Charter will be taken by clients and those most guilty of spamming. Many have long argued that self-regulation is the answer, and in my time I’ve called for ‘naming and shaming.’ I’ve since mellowed on that front – maybe because I’m getting old – but the argument will carry on unless something drastic changes.

It remains to be seen whether simply having a charter actually goes far enough as I’m sure some will probably just view it as an overly-bureaucratic exercise that carries little weight. But at least it’s a step in the right direction, particularly as the lines between PR and other marketing disciplines blur and we become exposed (albeit not binded) to other codes of practice. Plus it beats naming and shaming.

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