Art of the Spin

By Alicia Beard, WildRock Digital Diva

Public relations professionals can sometimes get a bad rap for either sugar coating the truth or misleading the public with cover-ups or false information. And while this may be true for a small minority of propagandist, a majority of PR pros work to uphold the truth and create buzz for their company and clients the old fashioned way: through hard work and creating relevant messaging that is distributed to targeted audiences.

As an employee of a PR and marketing firm, you might not think these statements hold a lot of weight, but I am also a former journalist who used to view the world of PR with some disdain, believing myself and fellow members of the media to be of a higher ethical standard.

But after spending more than five years in a newsroom, those lines began to blur.

When I first started out as a reporter, I thought my job was to go forth and write the truth so the unwashed masses could educate themselves and democracy could prevail. But too often, I would return from covering a story only to have my editors tell me I had to rewrite a lead because it wasn’t provocative enough or move an inconsequential part of the story up higher because it contained some degree of conflict.

Over the years, I began to realize that anytime a person is providing an account of what took place to another person, there is always a level of subjectivity. We can never fully remove ourselves from the story. We can only be mindful of our biases and filters and attempt to use our best judgment and provide a well-rounded view.

Given this, I realized I’d rather stake my claim in PR where advocating on behalf of a company or product seemed more cut and dry. For me, PR has proven to be more rewarding. In a world gone social, I now work to forge meaningful relationships by managing the flow of well-crafted and reputable information.

At the end of the day, it’s all about relationships. Whether it’s companies to consumers or causes to audiences, understanding and valuing people is how PR can help companies outshine the competition.