Marijane Funess June 24, 2011 | 11:09:10

PR People Are Just Different

Last night at my children’s middle school graduation ceremony, I was struck by how my husband and I, both PR professionals, reacted to the evening’s speakers, who included a board of education rep and the superintendent of schools. They mumbled, they were unfocused, and they didn’t even hold their punch lines long enough for the audience to chuckle.

While others may have just been bored, we wondered, why hadn’t they been speaker-trained? Then, it dawned on me, PR people are just different. For example:

When the average person sees “New York Times” on their Caller ID, they know it’s subscription services calling, but a PR person leaps for the phone, thinking that the Times is calling about a client story!

When most people hear about an oil spill or giant product recall, they’re disgusted, or maybe just cynical, about the news. But we PR types wonder, “Which firm is handling crisis communications?”

When the typical person sees a TV news van at an event they wonder if perhaps they’ll be captured on video. The PR person feels a visceral elation that the press has arrived and has to restrain herself from jumping the producer.

Most people notice a large, splashy feature in the paper (or a funny segment at the end of the news), and they skim it…or not. The PR person analyzes the quotes and feels competitive for the rest of the day, wondering whose placement it is.

What examples do you have that show “PR people are just different?”

6 thoughts on “PR People Are Just Different

  1. Another example of how “PR people are just different” is when … there’s a typo in a publication and most people ignore it but a PR person is baffled by the fact that there obviously wasn’t a second pair of eyes to edit the copy.

  2. When you’re out to dinner with a bunch of PR people, half the table is sending a tweet about what they just ordered and the other half is checking in on foursquare.

  3. When a female politician is on the news, my girlfriend comments on what she’s wearing. I always try to explain how good (or bad) that politician is at bridging and framing. It always leads to a discussion about… clothing.

  4. For me trying to describe to people what PR is and what I am trained to do is the biggest challenge, my Gran, (73 years old) still thinks that I am a journalist, after almost 4 years of trying to explain that me being a journalist is not quite right!
    The way that I feel I am different as a PR is that I largely over analyse news and their ‘objectivity’ trying to measure the truth in their message. This is because I have been tarined to pick up on things that most people haven’t. For me over thinking the news is a regular occurance.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *