The mention of PR often leads to an imaginative journey through dimly lit back rooms, where spin is discussed by those pulling the strings. If I recall the first thing I learned in a university Public Relations course, was that this is not what we as PR professionals do. And throughout my educational experience it was reinforced, over and over and over again. Outside of my coursework, I see this message regularly from practitioners and industry related materials.
With all of this repetition, why are PR professionals still known for beings “spin doctors?” Amidst a communication revolution brought on by the internet, there are more opportunities for open, honest (albeit well thought out) communication than ever before. Organizations and PR professionals need to work together to encourage rather than inhibit this type of open communication process.
Organizations need to make their PR team accessible. This article has some great tips for setting things up this way.
In addition, communicators from throughout an organization need to be capable of responding to this level of open communication. With the level of interaction available through new media, people have to be ready to respond and participate in the ongoing dialogue regarding their organization. Now this requires careful thought and planning, rather than a shoot from the hip approach- but that is another post.