A brave new world
Written by: Philippe Riboton
IMAGINE YOU ARE a business journalist and you want to talk to the CEO of a particular company. Chances are the first thing you will be told by his/her assistant is that you need to call the PR manager. So you call the PR manager and raise your question. Most likely you will be told you need to turn to the PR agency. So you call the PR agency and submit your question again. This is a good question, they tell you – so good, in fact, that it needs to be answered by the company itself. So you turn to the PR manager again, who tells you, “Interesting topic, but that kind of question needs to be addressed by the CEO.” Naturally, this is actually why you called the CEO in the first place. So you call the CEO again…who tells you in the end that his/her answer has to be approved before being made public…by the PR people. Welcome to the brave new world of public relations. A growing crowd of business professionals who are here to make sure the journalists – and in the end every person exposed to any media – receive the “right” information. Quite interestingly, PR in the Czech Republic goes far beyond this general description. Come closer and you’ll see that PR is everywhere you look, in every line you read, in every picture you see, in every word you hear. But the thing is, you simply don’t know about it. You just read, hear or watch what you believe is information. But it isn’t – not quite. From company profiles to interviews with CEOs and, of course, new product releases – this is all pure PR. And it is all paid for, directly or indirectly: in the form of salaries and fees for the PR minions; in the form of lavish trips to entertaining destinations for journalists; and in the form of advertising campaigns for those media that blatantly trade their editorial pages or airtime on the open market. Got a problem with this description? Call my PR manager.