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December 23, 2014
PR Isn’t for Arranging the Chairs
Is it the function of public relations to pack a meeting in favor of a departing functionary? We don’t think so. Thus a post on San Diego Reader sticks in our craw. When Michael Peevey, president of the California Public Utilities Commission, retired this month, the Reader reports, “the agency’s public relations head ‘instructed staffers to reserve 30 seats at the front’ for people sure to heap praise on Peevey.” And they apparently did.

Ugh. We see the function of PR as enabling an organization like a public utility commission to be managed well and to relate accordingly to homeowners, businesses, schools and charities — indeed, its publics. Stage managing is not what PR is about, in our view. Indeed, it’s the sort of manipulation that gives the craft and odorous name with — the public.

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Doug Bedell has a background in journalism and PR and is the owner of Resource Relations LLC in Central PA, focusing on organizational and crisis communication. He’s the community manager of SimplyFair.net, a social network on fairness. On the Web, Doug’s at www.ResourceRelations.com. On Twitter, he’s @DougBeetle.
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