Thursday, 28 July 2011

Credit Where Credit's Due....

Yesterday, I spent eight hours briefing the media on the implications of the Court of Appeal's ruling in the PRCA and Meltwater case versus the NLA. It was a good day, and we conveyed many of our key messages.

On the back of that, I've received a great many messages of support from the industry's leading figures. They appreciate the time and effort the PRCA and Meltwater have expended in fighting the NLA. Those messages are very welcome.

We have been delighted to stand up for our industry, and delighted to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Meltwater in this case.

What has perplexed me though is how those who bodies that declined to be involved in the case are now attempting to claim credit for it. Let me be utterly clear on this. Other monitoring providers, and other professional bodies, were invited to join with Meltwater and the PRCA. And they declined.

I read some people's public comments therefore with at least a raised eyebrow.

Let me be quite clear. The only people who have been involved in this case -who have had, dare I say, the balls to fight the NLA- have been the PRCA and Meltwater.

Nobody else.

No other private company.

No other membership body.

We asked a number of those organisations to become involved. They declined. While I welcome their support now, sometimes I do wonder what value their support is when it is nothing more than a blogpost....

As for our role, well I tried to express it yesterday in a recording at M4DC. You can see it here.

To my mind, this is one of the key bits: "Over the course of this past year, some people have asked us why we have gone to the time and expense of fighting the NLA in the Courts. The answer is very straightforward. It is our duty. There is no point being an industry body if you are too scared or too lazy or too arrogant or too indifferent to stand up for your industry. That is what we have done, and I am proud that we continue to do so."

Friday, 15 July 2011

The PRCA's Onward March

Well, that was a pretty good week really.

What did we achieve?

We launched the PR Census 2011. It is by far the most comprehensive and detailed analysis of the industry ever undertaken. I say that having overseen the CIPR’s attempt to do the same six years or so ago. It gives us detailed knowledge of the size shape, pay and background of the industry and its participants. It will be of great value to our industry, and is a fine example of collaboration between the PRCA and PR Week.

We did a PRW webcast on it. And a Gorkana one too

Our members said that the worst was yet to come for News International -and have surely been vindicated already.

Yesterday was the inaugural PRCA-APPC-VMA public affairs summer drinks party. A thoroughly crowded St Stephen’s Club saw some of the most powerful people in the industry gather, exchange views and drink decent wine. We were even happy to welcome the CIPR’s Phil Morgan and my friend its ex-President Lionel Zetter there too.

The second deadline for our awards closed, with entries up by around a half. And, of course, we welcomed a couple more corporate members.

So the onwards march of the PRCA continues....

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

NOTW -the wider picture

Both as somebody who knows the communications industry reasonably well, and as a parent, the News of the World allegations are astonishing and appalling.

The wall of contempt that has hit News International is remarkable both in its ferocity and its justification. And indeed in the financial risk it poses.

Yesterday, Rebecca Brooks struck a defiant pose, clinging to her role. She ought to have resigned. Were I a betting man, I wouldn't be risking much on her still being at the helm in a month's time. The pressure on and from advertisers is so acute that throwing the NOTW's critics her head might well be the only sensible way to stem the flow of money.

Last night, I was chatting with a senior person in one of NI's rival titles. Their concern was that the reputational damage being done to NI would be collateral to the wider newspaper industry. That NOTW's hacking activities would damage not just one newspaper or indeed one group of newspapers, but newspapers as a whole; that this might be the tipping point for the PCC and its always under-pressure self-regulatory model.

Those seemed to be to be absolutely sensible observations. Imagine the reaction of politicians dragged through the mud by the Telegraph's revelations of their expenses arrangements. Their temptation must surely be to repay the industry that they blame for so much personal financial and reputational hurt.

Put all that together with the growing extinction of the newspapers' current business model, and I'm glad not to be in the newspaper industry right now.