Holmes Report Blog

The Holmes Report blog focuses on news and issues of interest to public relations professionals. Our main site can be found at www.holmesreport.com.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Ignorance is Bliss: Could it be that British journalists are even more holier-than-thou than their U.S. counterparts? They are if this pompous, self-righteous missive to the Financial Times from an ITV News reporter is any indication.

Keir Simmons apparently resides in a pink and fuzzy fantasy land in which reporters are noble seekers after truth, obstructed in pursuing their holy mission by public relations practitioners whose job, naturally, is to obstruct and obfuscate. (Simmons was responding to a column by John Lloyd, who made the contentious suggestion that both journalists and PR people could benefit from better mutual understanding.)

It’s tempting to suggest that anyone who sees the world in such stark black-and-white terms is too naïve to be trusted with something as important as informing the public. It’s equally tempting to suggest that willful ignorance—“Journalists don't need to understand PRs, it will simply damage our work”—is not a useful personality trait in a so-called seeker-after-truth. Nor is intellectual laziness.

If Simmons did take the time to understand “PRs” (a bizarre British-ism for PR people) he would understand that the only good PR begins with a commitment to the truth. Any PR executive who doesn’t have such a commitment will do more harm than good to his or her client’s good name. (And yes, I know there are a lot of bad PR people—and bad clients—out there.)

Tony Snow is about to learn that it’s a lot easier to spin and lie as a reporter than it is as a public relations guy, and as a consequence his new job is going to be a lot more difficult than his old job.


  • At 7:48 PM, Blogger Mike Sacks said…

    I am currently pursuing my master's degree in public relations, and the program is part of the Communications school which also houses the journalism program. Some of the journalism students are constantly overheard muttering insults about the PR students, and some of the PR complain about the nature and disposition of the journalism students. The relationship baffles me as we should all be out to communicate the same thing: the truth. It doesn't always happen. But by and large, we try.


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