At least that’s what members of the Canadian Public Relations Society (CPRS) were told on July 8, 2008, in an e-mail blast (presumably) provided by US-based publisher director, Julia Hood, which announced the new PRWeek Canada newsletter. Although I certainly welcome the addition of Canadian-specific information (“news and features, trend stories, profiles, and Q & As with leaders in the industry”), the tone of the announcement did come across as somewhat condescending.
This is particularly true as long-time, Canadian media outlets, such as Media in Canada, Marketing Magazine and AdNews have made more effort in recent years to focus on public relations activities and initiatives, in addition to their traditional spheres of marketing (yes, there is a difference!) and advertising. In fact, attendees at the recent CPRS conference were provided with a complimentary June 2008 issue of [Public Relations] Marketing in our kits. It’s the first such PR-dedicated edition that I can recall, although I suspect it will be limited to a quarterly or twice-yearly distribution. (There is nothing in the masthead to indicate frequency.) Another online publication that arrived on the scene earlier this year is PR in Canada, although contributions (and comments) have appeared to slow down in recent months. Other organizations, like the Canadian Journalism Foundation, also produce relevant newsletters. Perhaps readers can point to other resources, particularly in the various regions of Canada.
Some Recommendations for PRWeek Canada
To make this new, void-filling PRWeek Canada a valued and respected resource for Canadians, here are my recommendations. Ensure that:
1. The majority of its focus really is on Canadian-specific, public relations initiatives, events and practitioners—not marketing communications (an area that is already amply served).
2. It reflects the geographical*, sector and position diversity of the public relations industry and its practitioners in Canada.
3. It isn’t reduced to a house organ for Canadian PR/social media agencies and independent consultants (and their various stakeholders) to promote client wins, products and services. Instead, provide a variety of organizations and roles, so that the (under-served) in-house or client-side pros (e.g., in corporations, government and the non-profit sector) get equal representation.
4. Change your subscription page so that it does not greet Canadian visitors with the URL and header of “Register with PRWeek US!” (There’s also too much scrolling involved to find the box with the single/new Canadian e-newsletter option.) For that matter, if this venture is worthwhile, why haven’t you created a Canadian-specific landing page. Surely that isn’t too much to ask?
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*Montreal-based practitioner and McGill University instructor Elizabeth Hirst, APRS, CPRSF, echoes this sentiment, as she indicated in an e-mail message, “I’ve registered for PR Week Canada and am looking forward to it. I hope they cover the whole country and not just Toronto (much as I love Toronto).” Toronto-based, sole PRWeek Canada contributor, Chris Daniels, are you listening?
Anyhow, I think it’s worth monitoring this publication, at least for the short term (including how responsive editorial and technical staff are to my requests). Visit the online issue of PRWeek Canada here, and if you wish to receive the weekly e-newsletter, sign-up here.
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On a related note, on behalf of the contributors to PR Conversations, thanks are extended to the editorial/technical team at US-based Bulldog Reporter’s Daily ‘Dog online trade journal for recently adding our collective blog to its new ‘Dog Blogs page. A number of staff reviewed past posts and contributors, then they deemed our PR-content “meaty” and postings frequent enough to make the “gold” cut. PRC is the first international blog on its new listing.