Thursday, October 17, 2013

PR work is the new Rock n Roll

If you're doing anything you want people to know about, having a good PR person is a good idea. I know one who is probably the best in Scotland. I've watched with some amusement as various events have taken place over the last few months and people have lapped up the credit for them even though they know, and I know, they didn't know their ass from first base before said PR person got a grip of them. That's something that PR people are used to and those who recognise that know who to hire when they need people to know about something.

Another aspect of PR work, the less in your face, more sleekit, is when journalists call themselves journalists when in reality all they do is PR work. The best ones are so good at it that they have many convinced with their "Aw shucks" demeanour whilst they pen a column, which takes all the pressure off a new star signing who has just been seen rolling round the pitch like he's been shot, with opinions so far out there you'd question your own sanity. Lots of journalists have these cosy relationships with clubs and get their access and comfy interviews with players and managers which then enable them to get massive book deals.

You may think there is no problem with that but it's happening at the same time as laws are passed that allow companies to sue magazines/Web sites/bloggers, lose, and still have the magazines/web sites/bloggers pay all the costs.

A win-win-win for "The Man".

Independent journalism is absolutely crucial in the modern day. We have seen the impact of Wikileaks and how that shook the world and that is merely a continuation of great independent, investigative, journalism. Forget the tired comparison of Woodstein (A great piece of work but their employer negates them as an example) and look at what Private Eye did when exposing The Profumo Affair week by week with stories the press would not print. Now, Profumo could sue, lose, and it could still end the magazine.

You may say I have an agenda in this, I have a book out which I believe vindicates the Celtic support and asks serious questions of the most powerful men in Scotland and guess what? The only MSM journalists who seem interested in the story, don't come from this country.

People ask me how that makes me feel? In all honesty? Pissed off. I was a lucky guy who had a dynamite source fall on his lap. I still did my own digging, I still chased leads and familiarised myself with the world I was writing about and guess what? I found out more. An example: David Murray was able to control the image rights of Scottish football. That's absolutely huge and gets him into so many worlds that it may lead people to believe that gave him the capability to promote Rangers in Australia whilst hindering Celtic in Ireland.

You may think that, I couldn't possibly comment.

Then, as my frustration reaches boiling point, and I see these meek PR men on Twitter doing anything and everything to make it look like they are journalists and promise in depth, hard-hitting interviews with the Motherwell kit man or books that appeal to anyone who doesn't have an opinion beyond Coronation Street or Eastenders, I flip on the Sportsound Podcast and hear Chick Young try to re-write history better than The Hitler Diaries.

Sportsound has become a haven for the PR men of Scottish football, where different factions put up their spokesman to fight their corner. Hey, at least Jack Irvine doesn't hide what he is.

All this frustrates me and, seemingly, most who get in touch with me too. You wonder what, when doing their degree or whatever, the aspirations of these PR men were back before they compromised themselves so much that you'd struggle to get an answer to "Hello" before they phoned five different people.

I know some great journalists in this country. Ones that don't phone the person they are about to talk about live, they just say what they feel. More power to them but even they must understand that their message is being drowned out by meek delusional people who still think it's romantic to play for Ross County or PR men whose only reason for being is to get something looking like Rangers Oldco to the top of Scottish football.

That's where we are right now and that's why you have magazines/web sites/bloggers, because you have failed us all.

Pretty soon you'll need your own PR.

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