Gini Dietrich

Shoemakers Children Don't Have Shoes

By: Gini Dietrich | February 15, 2009 | 

Isn’t that the old adage? The shoemakers children don’t have shoes?  That’s what I think of when I read the Feb. 10 review of “PR: A Persuasive Industry” in USA Today.

The article starts out with this…

Sleazy. Disingenuous. These are words used in U.K. newspaper coverage of the public relations industry. PR, oddly enough, doesn’t have great PR. People tend to think that PR involves being manipulative and saying whatever is in the employer’s best interests.

Gee. Allow me to keep reading.

(The authors) call PR an amoral industry, a tool for good or evil purposes. There was, alas, Hitler, Goebbels, and the Nazi propaganda machine.

More? Why make my face more red that it is right now? Stop reading!  I can’t…it’s like a traffic accident. Must…keep…reading.

I’ve not read this book, but the reviewer goes on to say that in the book the authors debate whether or not it is the role of a PR professional to tell the truth.

I am here to tell you that every journalist (both traditional and new) I’ve ever worked with would tell me where to stick it if I ever lied to them.  If a client asked us to lie (and it has happened), we immediately resign the business.

I’m also here to tell you that PR professionals live by a Code of Ethics and I’ve seen people kicked out of industry organizations for displaying anything but professionalism. So there are good and bad in every profession. Until you walk a day (or five) in our shoes, let’s leave the negativeness and bashing alone.

About Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro. Join the Spin Sucks   community!

  • Interesting article offering little more than a quick glimpse to the underpinnings of PR. I don’t agree with the article, but I do agree that some PR agencies are prone to accept the requests of clients’ without thinking of the ethics behind the requests. Hopefully, journalists can filter through good agencies from the bad ones, and build relationships only with those they can trust. In this day, regardless of industry, we are a corporate society yearning for truth and transparency. It is our responsibility to ourselves and the consumer to provide a clear picture on our company and its services.

  • I probably ought to clarify my position. I agree with the post that PR has gotten a rap it doesn’t deserve and that the credible PR companies are those that stick to the ethics of truth. As a client, I only seek out the PR agencies that follow such a mantra.

  • Lindsey R.

    My professor asked all of us to read an article or blog on Public Relations and sed the author his definition of public relations… so here it is:

    Public Relations is the management function which evaluates public attitudes, identifies the policies and procedures of an individual or an organization with the public interest, and plans, executes and evaluates a program of action to earn public understanding and acceptance.


  • That’s great, Lindsey! How do you think public relations plays a role in today’s economy with so many dishonest business leaders?