PRoust Questionnaire: Don Radoli

The PRoust Questionnaire provides a quick insight into a public relations practitioner’s interests and point of view, as well as his or her professional beliefs and values.

If you are not familiar with the original 19th-century Proust Questionnaire, please see details at the end of this post.

PRoust Questionnaire answers from Don Radoli, Senior Communications Adviser at The Norwegian Immigration Appeals Board:

1. What is your most striking characteristic as a PR practitioner?

I try to get things right the first time, although this doesn’t always happen as one is dependent on other people for the final result.

2. What is your principal fault as a PR practitioner?

I’m impatient with decision makers who don’t bother returning journalists’ phone calls.

3. What is your favourite occupation in PR?

Coaching decision makers on media relations and seeing that they understand why the press has a role to play in a democratic society.

4. Why do you work in PR?

I migrated from journalism, and believe that done properly, with clear role understanding between PR practitioner and journalist, it does make a difference.

5. What is your idea of PR nirvana?
When I manage to convince a journalist that his/her “big scoop” is at variance with the facts in the case and he/she agrees to drop it.

6. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery in PR?

When some practitioners and decision makers believe that a well-crafted press release is all one needs to get the message across.

7. What qualities do you most admire in a PR practitioner?

Reliability/honesty and the guts to tell the client or CEO that the objective they’ve set can’t be achieved by comms. You can’t just put fancy make up on a rotten situation.

8. What qualities do you most dislike in a PR practitioner?


9. Who would you describe as a PR hero or villain?

One who tells it like it is, lays out the facts and suggests alternative courses of action. A villain promises what he can’t deliver either to get business or please client.

10. What do you most value in your professional contacts?

That they believe in what they do and are willing to stand up for it, sometimes at considerable cost to themselves.

11. Have you ever been influenced by a PR campaign?

Yes, I remember vaguely the one for Arrow shirts where the male model had a “Moshe Dayan” eye patch. To this day I still believe Arrow shirts are notch above the rest.

12. Where would you most like to practise PR?

With 24:7 comms location isn’t important. But an important area that is getting bad press is the climate change debate — it would be interesting to practice PR for such an important cause. Seems the “bad guys” — the climate sceptics have upper hand now.

13. Has a novel, film, play or other work of fiction ever influenced you as a PR practitioner?

Things fall apart by Chinua Achebe.

14. Who do you think has great public relations?

Apple. I hope they can maintain the momentum following Steve Jobs’ death.

15. Which real, historical or fictional person or brand would you like to give a reputation makeover?

Rupert Murdoch. Despite his immense media power and global footprint he seems to get it wrong all the time.

16. Who is your favourite writer?

Chinua Achebe and Marshall McLuhan. The latter’s contribution to critical thinking about the media is grossly underrated — I believe this because of Americo-centric thinking in both media and PR.

17. What one thing is essential to your PR life?

My iPad

18. Groucho Marx is quoted as saying he’d never join a club that would have him as a member.  Which PR club, association or tribes do you belong to—and why?

I belong to the local communications association here in Oslo because they host an annual seminar with good keynote speakers. The groups on LinkedIn are great — I lead the Stakeholder Relationship Management Group there.

19. Where do you most like to do your professional networking?

Face to face and on LinkedIn.

20. What’s the best career decision you ever made?

Resigning my safe job as Business Editor at a trade publication and doing a post graduate degree in media and comms.

21. What skills and abilities do you think tomorrow’s PR leaders need?

People skills; relationship building at all levels.

22. Which talent would you most like to have?

Understand and play music.

23. How would you like to end your PR career?

Lecturing at a University near my home in Kenya.

23. How would you describe the current state of public relations?

Transitional, nobody seem to fathom what the digital revolution will lead to.

24. What is your PR motto?

Get it right the first time, if you don’t try again.


Don Radoli is Senior Communications Adviser at The Norwegian Immigration Appeals Board, based in Oslo.  He worked in journalism and academia before taking up his current position in 2002.  Don holds a BA degree from The Nowergian School of Journalism and The University of Oslo, where he also achieved an MA.  You can connect with him by email, via LinkedIn, where he runs the Stakeholder Relationship Management group, Twitter: @DRadoli, on Facebook and Google+.


The PRoust Questionnaire was originally designed to reveal one’s personality. Its name and popularity as a form of interview has roots in the responses given by the French writer, Marcel Proust. His first set of responses came at the end of the nineteenth century, when he was still in his teens (from an English-language “confession album”).

For PR Conversations we have adapted this original idea with questions that offer a public relations’ perspective. It is fun to compare and contrast responses as the series grows. (See below.)

If you would like to be invited to complete our PRoust Questionnaire for posting on PR Conversations, please visit our Crowdsourcing suggestion form.

Earlier PRoust Questionnaire respondents:

Toni Muzi Falconi

Richard Bailey

Jane Jordan-Meier

Nelly Benova

Peter V. Stanton

Mat Wilcox

Anne Gregory

Markus Pirchner

Heather Yaxley

Judy Gombita

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5 Replies to “PRoust Questionnaire: Don Radoli

  1. I’ve always enjoyed the riff that James Lipton has done of this questionnaire for the Actors Studio, nice to see the PR touch put on it. Some interesting answers for Don, but what stood out with me is ‘Apple.’ I think they’ve cultivated a great image and have built a tremendous community, by not doing what I’d consider a lot of PR. Yes they work the tech media, analysts and have a fairly open forum on their site but also, they’ve been hands off letting their community do a lot of it for them. FWIW.

    1. Thanks for the comment, Davina. It is precisely because Apple has managed to “cultivate a great image and have built a tremendous community” that they are good at PR. Think of the vision and and strategic input that went into creating that community. It now appears so seamless that we think it is so easy.

      And finally we should not forget that they make great products that generate their own PR.

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