Thursday, 24 February 2011


There's a bit of a -how shall I put it?- whinge in The Guardian.

They make some valid observations about churnalism, but seem to point the figure at our industry, whose growth they blame rather than celebrate Instead, they should try looking a little closer to home.

Yes, it's sometimes the case that press releases are pretty much copied and pasted by papers (a point we've made to the NLA...).

Yes, it's sometimes the case that papers don't interrogate stories as they should.

But there's a very simple reason for this -newspapers no longer employ an adequate number of journalists.

It's been happening for years, and there's no sign of it stopping. As newspaper circulations fall, and as sources of information proliferate, newspaper revenues decrease, and they employ fewer people. But those people are now expected not just to fill hardcopies of the paper, but online content too. So they're pretty busy....

It's hardly rocket science to work out what the problem is.

What is rather more difficult is working out the answer -quite how do we break this vicious circle. Because we lose out too. Answers (in a press release if you like) please.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Getting to the Best Talent

Today, we announce the creation of our Access Commission. Its remit is broad but simple: to look at the barriers to entry which exist within our industry, and to examine how to widen access so that the very best people are attracted to PR as a career -and having entered the industry, stay in it.

Every industry has barriers to entry -some (like being intelligent and hard-working) are obviously good; others (like bright people thinking they won't fit in) are obviously bad. It's the bad ones we want to identify and remove. Because we want to get to the very best talent.

So the Commission will examine a whole range of areas -class, disability, ethnicity, parent-friendly workplaces, internships etc etc. It will invite evidence, weigh it, and come forward with practical suggestions to enable our industry to appeal to the very brightest people, regardless of background.

The list of members is pretty impressive. Its Chairman is Insight Public Affairs' John Lehal. And the other members are:

Rishi Bhattacharya, Deputy Managing Director, Edelman
Magda Bulska, Account Manager, Insideout Communications
Leah Bryant, Chairman, PRCA Frontline
Bieneosa Ebite, Chair, Ignite and Managing Director, Brightstar PR
Lee Edwards, Lecturer, Manchester Business School
Nicky Garston, Senior Lecturer, Greenwich University
Kate Hartley, Managing Director, Carrot Communications
Robert Khan, Head of Law Reform, Law Society
Francis Ingham, Chief Executive, PRCA
Sandy Lindsay, Group Managing Director, Tangerine PR
Robert Minton-Taylor, Associate Senior Lecturer, Leeds Business School
Mike Morgan, CEO, Red Consultancy
Dan Murphy, Director of Corporate Communications, Remploy
Gina Ramson-Williams, Group Talent Director, Europe, Weber Shandwick
Danny Rogers, Editor, PR Week
Sarah Stimson, Course Director, Taylor Bennett Foundation

It'll report back in the early summer. I'm looking forward to its work. If you think you have something to contribute, email or DM me - @PRCAIngham

Thursday, 10 February 2011

What Does 2011 Hold?

Our industry's definitely more optimistic about the future than it was this time last year. That's the very clear message of our recent PRCA PR Leaders' Panel.

We asked our member MDs, CEOs and Comms Directors how positive they felt about their own organisation's prospects; about the industry's; and about the country's. We then calculated the balance of opinion by taking the negative responses away from the positive; and by splitting the agency respondents from the in-house ones.

And the results were pretty clear:

Consultancy's/organisation's overall prospects: Consultancy respondents +79; In-house respondents +54
PR industry's overall prospects: Consultancy respondents +53; In-house respondents+20

So -strong confidence from agencies and in house teams alike about their own prospects and about the idnustry's too.

A different picture emerges when asked about the UK's overall economic prospects though:

Consultancy respondents +21; In house respondents -13

The consistent gap between in house and agency sentiment is striking; as is the belief that while our own industry will prosper in 2011, the same isn't necessarily true of the wider economy.

Food for thought as we move through the year. The full results can be viewed at the PRCA site