Don’t be mad, be good

On Sunday, June 1, 2008 legal analyst Andrew Cohen of CBS spoke out on former White House Press Secretary, Scott McClellen’s new tell-all book. In his report, “The Flak on Flacks,” Cohen accuses PR professionals of making a living on untruths. He even calls out PRSA’s ethics. National PRSA responded. Cohen responds. And the arguing rages on, and on, and on.

First off, I disagree with Cohen’s sweeping generalization of PR people as liars. I was pleased to see a quick response by PRSA through the letter plus e-mails to membership keeping us updated. But it is hard to argue with the perception of public relations as a profession in society.

I’ve read where maybe the public relations profession should have a PR campaign. I don’t think this is possible. I don’t see how anyone could change societal views of public relations any more than I think people will start thinking highly of politicians, lawyers, used-car salesmen or journalists. We are viewed in a negative light. There is no denying this. People see us using “spin” to cover up problems.

I fall under the broker paradigm of public relations: An intermediary between an organization and its stakeholders to find mutually beneficial solutions. (Tip of the hat to Kami Huyse on her insightful post.)

What I do know is this: I can only control what I do as a communications/PR professional to influence how my sphere of influence sees my profession. I hope when people look at me and the work I do, they see a credible and honest professional who keeps in mind the best interests of my organization or client.

I should not/will not apologize for trying to make my organization or client look good for stakeholders. It is up to me to accomplish this task with integrity and not lie. We would better serve our profession by striving to be better at our profession including an adherence to its ethical standards.

Photo Credit: nouQraz

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Do Schools Kill Creativity?

I found a informative and disturbing video from Sir Ken Robinson @ TED sharing ideas on education and posing the simple question: Do schools kill creativity? I recommend reviewing this video (running time 19:29) and thinking about what you remember about school. I’ve heard it said that if you were to bring someone from the past, say from 1960, and showed them your kitchen, they would likely be amazed to see the various electronic contraptions available to ease the burdens of cooking. They would also be astounded at the flat TV hanging on the wall with crystal-clear images. They might even be uncomfortable at all of the advancements in everyday life. But, put them in a typical classroom of today and they would likely feel right at home: a teacher at the front of the classroom talking to a group of students sitting at desks.

What makes schools so different that we don’t spend the same resources to aid the instruction to make life better for our students and teachers? Many advancements have taken shape and technology integration in classrooms is well beyond where it used to be, but we could do so much better.

Things are changing (for the better) and I look forward to the advancements that my kids will enjoy in their educational experiences. When the focus is truly on the students needs, education will have evolved: