The Counter

June 12, 2007

Getting Ink has started a simple, yet potentially very effective category. “Things You Might Like To Know” aims to knock together some of those simple, yet valuable bits of information that can so easily end up making life easier for everyone concerned.

As per some of the comments on TWL’s post on job satisfaction (which, not to put too fine a point on it, is a very insightful look at what may well be the future of the industry) one of the biggest handicaps to a new recruit into the PR world – or at least to, let’s say a middleweight tech PR agency – is that there is little or no formal training, no time for acclimatisation, and the already significant differences between the freshly qualified PR’s expectations and the cold, hard treadmill of reality are magnified to chasm-like gaps.

There are lots of basic differences between the flack and the hack, but more importantly there are lots more basic similarities. The same applies across the board. I got into PR in the UK fairly late, and have practised a heap of other disciplines before I did, the one thing I’ve always tried to do is to redress is the imbalance that occurs when the participants in any professional situation consider themselves “buyer” and “seller”. Let’s call it the “counter”.

In all professional situations, as soon as the counter is introduced, relations between the protagonists on either side deteriorate rapidly. The idea being that the buyer is all powerful and always right, and the seller is morally, never mind contractually, obliged to supply the buyer with his every wish. In the case of flack/hack relations the situation is fairly obvious.

Unfortunately, there are and always will be, certain hacks who enjoy the position – “very busy and important” people who expect to be looked after to the point of wet nursing under all circumstances. There are also inept, clumsy and downright idiot PR practitioners, and always will be, but these people make up a very visible minority. The rest of the industry (flack and hack) is made up with people who make every effort to deal with each other on a “level playing field” – each appreciating the other’s position to the best of their ability, and here’s where Sally’s “MLTK” (Sally’s a keen acronymer/acronymiser (if there is such a thing) in her spare time) can be a really useful tool.

If we can get rid of the misunderstandings, misconceptions and frequent downright lies about how both parties operate we’ll have gone a long way to levelling this playing field, getting shot of the “counter” dealing with each other on a more human basis and finally getting on with the jobs we’re all being woefully underpaid to do.

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2 Responses to “The Counter”

  1. Sally Says:

    Hi Spud

    Thanks for the link (though we’re called Getting Ink, not Inked. tsk)

    I thought PRs all had salaries that read like phone numbers?

  2. Spudgun Says:

    My apologies Sally, typical PR – doesn’t even bother to read what’s in front of him before jumping in!

    As for salaries, it’s true that mine reads like a phone number – if you’re calling someone in Andorra!


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