A growing and comfortable sense of community patches things up. We’ve recovered much of the Princeton Review debate. Thank you!

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I am not so sure the debate will start again, but in any case it makes sense to repost the original text of the Princeton Review prc_princeton-post.pdf and recap the whole discussion which has been going on in various blogs and sites.

This is my original which, you might remember, was indavertently deleted and reffered to O’Dwyers first disclosure of the Princeton Review article.
Jack also followed up on his website with three more pieces which you may read:
princeton-review-rejects-pr-study-aug_-23-2007.htm
and educators-pros-rap-princeton-aug_-29-2007.htm
and princeton-review-reiterates-pr-stand-aug_-31-2007.htm.

Thanks to the efforts of both Matt Wardman and Michael Zimet, the original was retrieved while a number of those who had originally commented volunteered their opinions on the I really goofed post which precedes this one I am now writing.

I guess Jack’s last entry (posted on his website but also sent to this blog and readable in the comments the post preceding this one) sums it up in terms of the specific of the Review’s authority and influence.
But this is only the peak of an iceberg and, as many said, lies over a huge mountain (elephant?..) of misconception and lightheartedness from senior and seasoned professionals who have commented in this, o d’wyers and other blogs such as
this,
and this, and others…which over the last few days have covered the incident.

It seems to me that this discussion integrates perfectly with the content of the discussion which is also going on here under Heather Yaxley’s first great post What is PR?.
I would like to suggest to integrate these two parallel debates (and, if you wish, also the highly articulate discussion which is still proceeding under Alan Chumley’s and Judy Combita’s post on pr evaluation and measurement).
For the professors it might make sense to ask their students to summarise a five page critical analyis of all these materials.
For professionals, particularly the more seasoned and skeptical ones, it might also make sense, after having read the lot themselves, to pass it on to their younger colleagues.

I have discovered another great thing about this approach to social media: the sense of community which has developed amongst us is yet another lesson for which I am indebted to each and all of you.

2 COMMENTS

  1. I just wish to add that Jack O’Dwyer has published what is possibly his final piece of the series on the Princeton affair which goes like this: Sept. 4, 2007

    PRINCETON PUT-DOWN OF PR IS WAKE-UP CALL

    The Princeton Review debacle puts the spotlight on PR, PR education, the definition of PR, and the PR community’s lack of a response mechanism.

    The Review’s advice against taking undergraduate PR courses will be followed by many college students.

    The Review should not be allowed to use the word “Princeton” in its name. The school lost a legal challenge some years ago, withdrawing its claim after the Review said it would “routinely use a disclaimer” that it was not connected with the University.

    That doesn’t satisfy PR professors nor us. The company should fly its correct flag, i.e., “Collegiate Review.”

    Its anti-PR advice has sparked dozens of e-mails from PR professors and PR pros in the U.S. and abroad that are on odwyerpr.com, prconversations.com, and prmindshare.

    The University has told us it would entertain a rebuttal to its advice against PR courses. But first, PR must get its house in order. There is no accepted definition of PR.

    It’s a conflicted field because PR at one and the same time promises to be a sales function and an information function. It wants to eat its cake and have it, too. It’s like a real estate salesperson also wanting to do the inspection on the house.

    PR Has Poor Public Image

    PR’s image with the public is not good. The 2005 Harris Interactive/PRS poll found 85% of consumers feel PR pros sometimes present “misleading information” and 79% believe PR pros “are only interested in distributing information that helps their clients make money.”

    A 1999 PRS/Rockefeller survey found “PR specialist” was 43rd in credibility on a list of 45 public spokespeople. PR’s image with the press is even worse (i.e., Washington Post columnist Gene Weingarten calling PR people “pathetic dillweeds” because PR contacts on releases could not answer his questions. Such comments are rife in the press.

    There are nine books about PR with the word “spin” in their titles.

    “PR” has mostly been replaced by “communications” at corporations. The Princeton Review says “communications” is the eighth most popular major (after English) and that such majors learn how to “influence individual and group behavior.”

    One solution could be separating PR, which is mostly a sales and marketing function, from the public information function. Bring back the title of PI and put someone in it who can take press calls and not be easily offended. Sometimes reporters only want cold, hard facts. As Lincoln said, “cold, unimpassioned, reason is the only acceptable form of public discourse.”

    PR Society Absent in Princeton Debate

    Some bloggers wanted to know where the PR Society stood in this debate. Nowhere is the answer.

    Joseph Trahan
    The head of the Educators Academy, Joseph Trahan, Ph. D., a “media trainer” in McDonough, Ga., said the Review “evidently knows nothing about PR education today.”

    That’s not the answer that’s needed….

  2. A short definition of public relations is…building mutually-beneficial relationships between the company and its public(s). Easier said than done.

    A true PR practitioner does more than write and build, maintain or repair images. We also counsel management, research public opinion, help shape public policies, develop and implement strategic plans, conduct crises management, inform internal and external audiences, plan special events, conduct fund-raising events, provide newsworthy story ideas to the media through news releases, VNRs, feature stories (written in AP style), and the list goes on. If you want a job in public relations, you can choose from media relations, community relations, employee relations, financial relations, government relations, industry relations, marketing communications, member relations, well, you get the picture. A PR practitioner can work in a corporate setting or a non-profit setting. The possibilities are endless…if you have the education and experience.

    Saying “any major that teaches you how to read and write intelligently will lay good foundation for a career in public relations” is absurd. Public relations students are trained to write for the media (AP style); that’s why more than 50% of daily newspapers contain stories from news releases.

    I would like to see the credentials of the professionals who responded “a PR education is not necessary.”

    Finally, the field of public relations continues to grow, the demand for professional and experienced public relations practitioners continues to grow, and the number of college students declaring PR as their major continues to grow. To those of you who think you don’t need the specialized education, no problem, but no crying when an APR beats you out of a job!

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