A PR Guru's Musings is now at www.stuartbruce.biz

A PR Guru's Musings is now at www.stuartbruce.biz
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First Entry

This is a test of my new PR blog. I want to see if 20six is better than Blogger. I find Blogger to be disapointing because it doesn't allow comments and is a right pain to add a list of permanent links to. Hopefully 20six will remedy this and it's a British company - or at least European!
8.7.03 18:54

Throwing the frisbee - Campbell v. BBC

The big PR story of the week has to be the on-going feud between Alistair Campbell and the BBC. My take on it right at the start is that Alistair was using the classic PR technique that I call 'throwing the frisbee'.

When I'm doing PR training presentations I always illustrate the technique by suddenly in mid-sentence throwing a frisbee into the audience. I then deftly change subject while the audience is suitably distracted by the frisbee. It never fails. That's what Alistair is doing with the BBC feud - most people have now forgotten about the substance of the story (the failure to find weapons of mass destruction).

My personal opinion is that the BBC has lost the plot. Gilligan is a reporter with an agenda (five years on the right-wing Sunday Telegraph before joining the Beeb). To use a single source for a major story is fine - but NOT if that source is also anonymous, then you do need some corroboration.


9.7.03 11:13

My blog hits the news

Although this is a new blog about my day job as a PR man, I have been keeping a blog (is that the phrase - like keeping a diary?) on my life as a local councillor. This has garnered a fair bit of media attention (with a little help from myself as a PR man of course!).

Last week their was a story in my local daily paper the Yorkshire Evening Post. This week I've done interviews with Local Government Chronicle and The Guardian (they already ran a small story in June - you have to keep scrolling down the page!). I'm also told that a piece appeared on-line in .net magazine but I've searched the archive and can't find it. If you spot it then let me know!

9.7.03 15:42

PRs pitch bloggers

It appears from my sources in the States (Ok a bunch of PR folks I know on a mailing list!) that some unsuspecting bloggers are about to be targeted by PRs. MediaMap (a commerical database of media contacts) has started to include blogs by journalists.

There are so many poor (as in not very good, rather than no money) PR people out there that this could seriously backfire on some. These mugs will think all they need to know as add that journo on to the end of a news release distribution list and away you go. My guess is that you'll see some bloggers slagging off thier clients as a direct result of such a crass approach.

That's not to say that I don't think PRs should target blogs. We definitely should. Word of mouth is the most powerful weapon in the martketing armoury. Some of the more popular bloggers are powerful opinion formers that you will want to influence on behalf of clients. But just like targeting Usenet/newsgroups you have to be subtle. You have to play the game by the rules and make a real effort to take part rather than just try to crudely peddle your own agenda.

14.7.03 16:02

IPR/DTI best practice in the UK PR industry project

For those of you who are professional PRs take a moment to pop over to the IPR website to fill in the online survey about best practice in the UK PR industry. It's all about proving how PR provides a good return on investment and is integral to the success of any business or organisation. You can also access it from PR Week's website.
18.7.03 13:04

Who do you trust?

The David Kelly story will run and run throughout the summer. At the time of writing it is still 'an apparent suicide' but lets face it the conspiracy theorists are going to have a field day. We will never no for sure if it was suicide or murder by any one of a number of intelligence agencies from MI5 and the CIA to Mossad or even one of Saddam's henchmen.

But what's of interest to me from a PR perspective is the tone the media coverage is already taking on - almost unanimously blaming the 'government' and exonerating journalists. Despite the fact that members of Kelly's family and friends have already fingered the BBC.

What is depressing about this whole affair is that there is no way of reading or viewing reports that I trust. The media establishment have drawn the wagons around Andrew Gilligan (the 'guilty' BBC reporter).

A viewer survey currently running on Sky News asks "Who should resign?" - Alistair Campbell (press secretary), Tony Blair, Geoff Hoon (defence secretary) or no one. Where is the objectivity? Why the hell isn't Gilligan or any of his bosses at the BBC listed? These people should be punished severely for what they have done to the democratic process.

In 14 years of professional PR I've seen a depressing decline in journalistic standards. I know from personal experience that the BBC Today programme, in common with almost every other media outlet I've ever dealt with, has extremely sloppy fact checking.

Today even the BBC, once the bastion of impartial reporting allows spin and distortion into its so called news reports. Too frequently it is because a reporter wants to appear tough but in doing so reveals their ignorance.

A good example was recent interview of Dick Caborn (tourism minister) on Newsnight. He was being asked about the proposed new licensing laws and was repeatedly challenged about the Dublin experience which had led to increased alcohol related problems. He answered that Dublin wasn't relevant because the legislation was totally different (simply extending opening hours rather than complete reform). But it made no difference to Andrew Vine, the interviewer, who doggedly went through his list of questions which now made no sense because they were based on a false premise. But  Vine continued, simply to show that he could be as tough as Jeremy Paxman and could bash a government minister with the best of them.

Don't get me wrong I want to see good journalism and the government held to account. But with FACTS rather than the selected spin that the media uses these days.

How ironic that the media constantly moans about being subjected to government spin, when the media itself is the biggest culprit. If what could trust political journalists to report truthfully and honestly then their would be a lot less need for so called spin by the government.

Rant over!

19.7.03 07:41

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