Stop calling us ‘PR practitioners’

You never hear ‘marketing practitioner’ or ‘advertising practitioner,’ so why do people working in PR use this moniker?

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Somewhere along the way the PR industry got a bad rap.

Maybe it was one too many gum-snapping airheads masquerading as public relations pros that tarnished our field. They’re a rare and feckless creature, but they have and do exist.

Just as the newspaper business has caricatures of hard-boiled, cigarette-smoking, bourbon-swilling reporters, the public relations industry has its own cartoonish persona that undermines the very real, very important work being done. It’s not fair. It’s not accurate. But it’s there.

Enter the term “PR practitioner.”

Practitioner, you see, is a serious-sounding word that is supposed to add credibility to the profession. PR practitioners aren’t empty-headed—they’re strategic; they’re brainy, and laser-focused on results. And so on.

Never mind that the reality has always been far different from the perception of PR people. The overwhelming majority of PR pros, male and female, are highly educated and extremely capable of driving a client’s business forward. We are the people you want in the room during times of crisis, for example, because we understand how to effectively communicate to all audiences.

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