5 outdated or just plain wrong PR stereotypes

The familiar notions that PR is all about spin and who you know simply aren’t accurate representations of the job.

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PR people are all about the spin. This trope is a little too sensationalized to die a natural death, and some of us only wish it were more accurate. The power! The sway! Though it plays well in the movies, the truth is more complicated and more prosaic. Most PR professionals work hard to advance a point of view, and we often succeed without any compromise to integrity. In the end, it’s more an honest negotiation than sleight of hand.

PR is about who you know. Not really, or at least, not entirely. Contacts certainly help in getting an audience, and that can generate valuable insight on a story idea or pitch, but friends won’t get you very far unless the idea is solid. The stereotype of the relentlessly networking name-dropper or socializing press agent is sadly outdated.

PR people are failed journalists. In an era when newsrooms have suffered large staffing decreases, this is a nonstarter. Many journalists have crossed over, but the PR industry is neither dumping ground nor sellout. The difference between running down stories in a newsroom and counseling a corporate client is significant.

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