Rosen Blasts PR Bloggers

    January 20, 2005

The esteemed Jay Rosen from NYU writes that the PR bloggers failed to show up in commenting on …

the furor in public relations circles caused by the Armstong Williams corruption case.

The case involves one of the leading PR agencies, Ketchum. They funneled $240,000 from the Department of Education to Williams, a conservative syndicated columnist and television host, to get him to promote the No Child Left Behind Act. Rosen writes

“What is a PR blogger, and what are they supposed to be doing? I can’t say we know the answers to that. It’s hard to tell any individual blogger what to write about, where to link. And I am not offering my criticisms at that level. The answer may simply be: “There are a small number of bloggers covering PR, they all have other lives, other interests. They’re not full time bloggers. Give them a break.”

We can do that. Possibly what we saw with Ketchum is just an under-developed blog sphere, no critical mass yet. But I know that as a part-time reader of PR bloggers–and a friend of some–I was disappointed. Richard Edelman was stunned.

Still, what a story! For the Harvard conference on blogging, journalism and credibility the take away is this: Trust has something to do with rising to the occasion.”

I am square on his MIA list. In my case, I feel like I am free and clear because I blog about the intersection between blogs and PR. Blogs had nothing to do with this episode. I am only blogging it now because Rosen, a journalism professor, is criticizing the PR bloggers.

Call me provincial, but I really have nothing to add to this dialogue. I feel fine leaving this to folks who blog on the broader PR industry issues. Does Scoble or Doc Searls comment every time the tech industry is attacked? No. Nor does it mean I need to be the PR industry’s Captain America.

Steve Rubel is a PR strategist with nearly 16 years of public relations, marketing, journalism and communications experience. He currently serves as a Senior Vice President with Edelman, the largest independent global PR firm.

He authors the Micro Persuasion weblog, which tracks how blogs and participatory journalism are changing the public relations practice.