Welcome to Media Bullseye’s weekly Radio Roundtable discussion. Our special guest this week joining me and CustomScoop VP Jennifer Zingsheim is Bill Sledzik. Bill is a professor of public relations at Kent State university, and a blogger at the popular PR blog Tough Sledding. We inevitably cover the Andrew Cohen ruckus, revisit the ethical concerns regarding Hunter College’s recent flog dustup, and wonder whether social media isn’t turning us all into annoying whiners.
The Cohen Incident: We’ve all heard the news about Andrew Cohen’s recent appearance on CBS, arguing that PR is basically a profession of liars. PRSA issued an immediate response and bloggers have been talking about it all week. I get Bill’s input as both a PR veteran and someone tasked with educating the PR pros of the future. Jen pipes in with an interesting point regarding the difference between political communications and regular PR: is it perhaps the responsibility of those communicating on behalf of government agencies and other bodies to spin the truth a bit? After all, our security may be at stake depending on certain information. Bill also notes the disparity between someone like Scott McClellan (Cohen’s example) and the average PR flack.
Squeaky Wheel Society: I wrote a post on my personal blog this week wondering if social media is causing us all to become a bunch of whiners, complaining about our customer service. I point out that customer service is a vital element of public relations, and while I applaud the effort of companies getting online and responding to the squeaky wheels complaining about service on Twitter or blogs, I wonder if it’s feasible to gauge customer service strategy around this development.
Hunter College and Coach, Part 2: We discussed the Hunter College/Coach campaign on the show last week, but I was interested in getting Bill’s thoughts on the matter, as Kent State runs a similar program tasking PR students with real-life campaigns. They were actually offered the same campaign that got Hunter into hot water, and Bill stresses how he might have handled things differently.