Over the last 2 yrs Ive come across people whose reactions to what I do for a living ranges from "Ohh PR...so what is the advertisement ur working on now" to "gawd...you people are the scum of the earth".
Both reactions make me think.and think seriously. I came into this field at a stage when the industry is slowly gaining the recognition it deserves. Unfortunately, its an uphill task because noone really understands the full scope of Public Relations in this country. Here PR= Press Release or Press Relations. Ive had situations where we have worked on brilliant direct consumer connect activities only to be told by client that it was a failure because it did not yield "good coverage". This is the kind of reaction that has left me disillusioned with my field of work...there is more to PR than just clips in the media.How about non media PR activities which reach your TG directly?? How about realizing that every marketing activity cannot lead to fantastic media coverage?? How about working out marketing comunications plans in tandem with the PR Agency's inputs, instead of deciding on the (non)news peg, key messages and number of clips required, on your own??
Then there is the matter of the way people look at PR reps...(mentioned above.."scum of the earth etc..) We are just trying to do our job..n our job involves ensuring media coverage for client (because thats the only damn thing that counts with most clients at the end of the day). We are typecast as being dumb, pushy, ignorant, irritating etc etc by some journalists. Some even feel justified in being rude with us (A journalist once told me to go out of the office stand outside in the corridor and wait for him to come and meet me).
All I can say is..it takes all kinds..yes there are some INCREDIBLY dumb and unprofessional PR people in the industry today....the kind of people who agree to the clients' every nonsensical demand, the kind of people like the lady who once advised me to ensureI look nice and meet a particular journalist on a Saturday afternoon, smile and bat my eyelashes and generally give the impression of a damsel in distress (because of no coverage) to get my work done, the kind of people who don't begin to understand the concept of "newsworthiness" and irritate journalists with meaningless follow up calls, the kind of people who don't know when to take no for an answer. The list goes on.There are unprofessional inefficient people in every field..journalism included. There have been instances when journalists have asked us to fix interviews, then said they will come to the venue on their own and then vanished....after having switched off their cell phones..how the hell do I explain this to my client?? How the hell do I justify the cost incurred in taking a journalist on a familiarization trip to XYZ location when after the trip he/she says "I do not intend to file a story. This was for my own interest".
It takes all kinds of people to make up the world....I have been lucky enough to work in Bangalore where, for most parts, interacting with the media is a pleasure(I dont know how the scene is in Delhi/Mumbai but Ive heard its damn difficult) most journalists here are friendly and extremely good with their work. PR too is gradually changing...we are not expected to wag our collective tails n give in to every whim of client/media, we are not expected to treat journalists/ clients like gods, we are not expected to bat eyelashes etc to get work done( I refused to do this and made a hue and cry about it, which resulted in my then branch head coming down rather heavily on the lady who suggested it in the first place). Things are changing....thank god!!! Lets hope its all for the best!! As for us being the scum of the earth...guys give us break...not all of us can be bracketed into the whining a**licking category...there are those of us who go about our work professionally and intellegently!!!!
PS: Deep...i know what you said about ranting and raving on this blog..but then... HADDDD to get this out of my system....as a journalist Im sure you understand what I'm talking about!!!