In a recent article from allAfrica.com, public relations professionals are making an effort to regulate the profession there and clean up its reputation. Peter Malinga, president of of the Public Relations Association of Rwanda, asserts that the public relations world has a current “free entry” status in which “failed or re-traded journalists” can thrive. This being the case, the PRAR, a joint private-public sector venture, hopes to align the industry with professionalism and apparently competency.
“[PRAR]’s main aim, [Malinga] added, is to professionalize the public relations profession, given that its practitioners are often considered to be poor cousins of advertisers’ and event management.”
The organization hopes to “weed out” unqualified people and make the profession something to which people aspire, rather than resort.
At first, I was mildly offended. Only mildly because I wasn’t sure if Malinga and his organization were referring to the Rwandan PR industry rather than the global profession. But I was offended because I think that the skills that make a successful PR professional are disciplines that I am daily honing and – well, at least thinking about.
The article later goes on to focus on the importance of distinguishing between good and bad PR and the need for the former.
And so at this point, I realized: I need to NOT be offended (even mildly) about this and realize that he’s right. There’s plenty of bad PR out there, even if most of the time I associate it with being stimulated by external, “beyond our control” forces. Probably the bulk of bad PR out there is done by PR pros who really aren’t THAT pro.
This is a rallying call for mobilization and engagement. How do we answer?
By striving to be truth-centric and people-oriented. By allowing the industry to be chastized.
“It is in the institution’s interest if it is criticized, since this helps in the correction of different mistakes.”
*Photo courtesy of http://polosbastards.com