I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Harris Diamond at the annual PRSA Chicago leaders event earlier this week. He was our honoree and spoke for a few minutes about how social media is changing the face of how we deliver information about our client’s products and services.
I won’t get the quote quite right from memory so I’ll paraphrase. He said we’ve lost the filter that reporters used to provide to young public relations professionals. If a young professional is speaking to a reporter about the issue of obesity, for instance, it used to be the reporter would check the facts before running a story. Now a young PR pro can post information about obesity on a blog or Web site and the filter of fact checking no longer is there.
Now why is it a) that an inexperienced PR pro would have the opportunity to post anything about anything without having a filter for checking facts and b) that we’d rely so heavily on reporters to do our jobs for us that we even need to be worried about not having the reporter filter? No wonder reporters think we’re flacks.
Perhaps I’m taking his comments out of context, but it does make me wonder how we train our young professionals and help them gain credibility without the “flack” perception hanging over their heads?
One question I didn’t get to ask…Harris, what do you think is going to happen to the communications fields in light of the development of Dell and WPP creating the Da Vinci marcom agency?
(The event, by-the-way, was held at the new Freedom Museum in the Tribune building. If you’re in Chicago and haven’t been, it’s a must see! Thanks Gary Weitman for hosting us!)