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Amy Gahran

You're welcome :-)

I would venture that some PR practitioners do "get it" -- I just had coffee with one this morning.

Evolution is rarely fast or comfortable. Give the masses, even within a profession, time to adjust. Baby steps.

- Amy Gahran


I didn't mean to imply that PR practitioners are monolithically clueless. But PR is a career built on communication, so I would actually expect people in PR to be ahead of the curve. That doesn't seem to be the case, in my experience. How can someone in PR *not* be reading blogs and trying to absorb everything there is to know about the interactive Web? Those are the people who'll be left behind, and deservedly so.

Chris Edwards

There are two problems with Tom Foremski's argument, at least as it stands today. One is that his analysis of a shrinking mainstream media is based on figures that assume the media you include are those that were around before the rise of the Internet. Look around both online and print, and you will find a lot more outlets and a lot more page-equivalents than were published in the early 1990s.

Second, a lot of PRs understand that they will have to go direct to the target audience rather than through the media. It will eventually return to public relations from press relations. But the clients are still demanding press relations: that's what they pay for and that is, as I understand it, the PRs still pitch for. I have had the discussion about going direct with a number of PRs and the reaction is generally along those lines - it's great in theory but what the client asks for is what pays the bills.

It is going to take several years before any real shift in behaviour becomes evident because the clients lag the PRs, and they lag any other changes in the audience. Expect to see a winnowing not now but in several years, and not because of the slow erosion of print but because journalist habits will change. However, I don't believe that will lead to a net reduction in the number of PRs. I think some will work out exactly how to use the blogosphere and other new media to "control the message": they will be uncannily successful. [Hint: you won't be seeing them email bloggers pleading for some coverage.]

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