Bob Woodward: PR and media relations should go old school

Personal exchanges and transparency are crucial yet neglected elements in working with professional partners, the journalist and ‘All the President’s Men’ co-author tells PRSA conferees.

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In this era of pervasive distrust, PR pros and company leaders struggle to deliver authenticity in their messaging.

“What’s the job of the president of the United States?” veteran journalist Bob Woodward asked industry professionals as the keynote speaker at the PRSA International Conference on Sunday, Oct. 10, in San Diego.

He might well have asked: What is the job of any top executive?

“The job of the president,” Woodward said, “is to establish what the next stage of good is for the majority of the country.” That’s how he defines leadership—a sacred duty for the commander-in-chief, but a top priority for all leaders.

Woodward, the investigative journalist who along with colleague Carl Bernstein chronicled the Watergate scandal, shared the lessons he has learned about storytelling, the truth and public trust in a career of covering White House triumphs and travails.

His contention to PR pros and journalists alike: It’s more important than ever to show up and to interact directly with people.

Echoes of Watergate

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