Monday, April 25, 2005

Welcome

Let me put this in PeRspective - I'm a public relations man. I'm a publicist, a power broker, a spin doctor, a corporate counselor - my brother says I'm a "professional liar." In reality there isn't any perspective because public relations has done a fairly bad job at defining what we do. This blog will largely be dedicated to bringing some clarity and definition to our profession.

I never wanted to be in PR. I wanted to be a lawyer. But after CBS cancelled the "Paper Chase" and I became a fan of the "Lou Grant" show I wanted to be a reporter. Alas the fourth estate wasn't meant to be a career for me. So, I pursued the next best thing - becoming a PR man, where I thought I could still be an advocate for my clients (like a lawyer) and be a professional storyteller (like a journalist).

At least I think that's the reason - I like to tell myself it is. But as I look back at the notebook I've somehow kept from my first public relations class at New York University I think I'm a PR man for an entirely different reason - the girls. On page one of the notebook I used in that first class I circled (and shamelessly starred in red) the percentage of women that worked in the field!

I write that because 20 years later it strikes me as amusing, but also because it's evidence for me that at the time I had no idea what profession I was getting into.

I've learned a lot over the years and I hope to use this blog to share some of those experiences. In the process I hope to learn a bit more about who who we are as a profession and where we might be going.

I like to think we're a profession with principles. To get things started here are the principles Ivy Lee used to set up his press office:

Ivy Lee's Declarations of Principles
1) This is not a secret press bureau. All our work is done in the open. We aim to supply news.
2) This is not an advertising agency. If you think any of our matter ought properly to go to your business office, do not use it.
3) Our matter is accurate. Further details on any subject treated will be supplied promptly, and any editor will be assisted most carefully in verifying directly any statement of fact.
4) In brief, our plan is frankly, and openly, on behalf of business concerns and public institutions, to supply the press and public of the United States prompt and accurate information concerning subjects which it is of value and interest to the public to know about.

Wouldn't it be great if that's how reporters (or at least my brother) really viewed what we do?