• NevOn
    NevOn is the archive weblog of Neville Hobson, a British business communicator based in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, a record of commentary and conversations from December 2002 until 22 February 2006. This site is no longer updated - please visit www.nevillehobson.com.
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    For Immediate Release: The Hobson & Holtz Report - A bi-weekly podcast for professional communicators from Neville Hobson, ABC, and Shel Holtz, ABC.

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2006 Public Speaking

  • Delivering The New PR – How Blogs, Podcasts and RSS Can Work For You - Manchester, UK, February 15, 2006

    New Communications Forum 2006 - Palo Alto, USA, March 1-3, 2006

    Blogging for Business - London, April 4, 2006

    Summit for the Future on Risk 2006 - Amsterdam, May 3-5, 2006

    IABC International Conference 2006 - Vancouver, Canada, June 4-7, 2006

2005 Public Speaking

  • Les Blogs 2.0 - Paris, December 5-6, 2005

    IABC EuroComm 2005 - Paris, Nov 30 - Dec 2, 2005

    Melcrum workshop on New Media - London, November 29, 2005

    Making the News: Blogging, Really Simple Syndication and The New PR - Sunderland, UK, November 18, 2005

    Emerce E-Day - Amsterdam, October 12, 2005

    Global PR Blog Week 2.0 - September 19-23, 2005

    PodcastCon UK - September 17, 2005

    The Communication Directors' Forum

    New Communications Forum 2005 - Napa, USA, January 26-27, 2005

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  • Comprehensive list of corporate blogs on The New PR Wiki. Also there: list of CEO blogs, product blogs, podcasts and more.



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04 February 2005


Jay Rosen

Neville: You ought to critically examine the way, in the wake of my post, PR bloggers made the issue PressThink's research, after finding that I had missed some posts in my review of what PR bloggers said about Ketchum.

It's a pathetic story. With each found post the "scandal" of Rosen's research methods grew. Trevor Cook, leading the spin, actually asked whether I had misused the data on purpose to give PR a black eye!

Never mind that PressThink instantly corrected itself with a follow up post that noted everything the first one had missed. (A fact routinely ignored by PR bloggers who were "outraged" by my oversights.) Never mind the fact that, even with all posts counted, the response to Ketchum fell far, far short, given the seriousness of the issue for PR professionals. Never mind the fact that my post triggered what was easily the largest wave of self-examination ever among PR bloggers, who finally starting asking questions about their professional associations.

Now, in a wonderful case of PR's addiction to spin, and a perfect illustration of why people don't trust the profession, PR bloggers spun themselves a story about Rosen's "discredited" post. Look at that episode, Neville. It speaks volumes.

Neville Hobson

Jay, exhaustively researching which blogs said what and when is still a pretty inexact science, I think, even with some of the neat tools we have at our disposal (unless you use a specific tracking system rather than just a Technorati or Google search). Your first post on the Ketchum/Armstrong issue did fall well short of the mark in accurately identifying who had blogged the issue, and drew lots of comments from PR bloggers who had actually blogged about it but weren't mentioned in your post. I thought Lisa did a great job in further research after that and then naming who said what and when. Nevertheless, some people did seem quite concerned about whether they were acknowledged and included in some list or not rather than discussing the ethical issues at hand.

I would definitely agree with you when you say that the response to Ketchum fell far, far short, given the seriousness of the issue for PR professionals if by that you mean from the broad PR profession, not individual PR folk who blog - all of whom in your lists did contribute some very good thinking.

Yet what real difference will a bunch of concerned individuals make on such an issue? In my view, this is a matter for the representatives of the profession to take a stand on the issue, on behalf of the profession as a whole, just as I said in a comment in your original post. But I wouldn't be surprised at all if nothing comes of Ketchum/Armstrong from the overall profession point of view in this regard. Enough time's gone by now for, say, PRSA or IABC to provide some meaningful commentary on the matter, and for any PR agency other than Edelman to state any point of view. Unless I've missed some recent reporting, such groups have been wholly silent.

Hence what I say in this post - there is plenty individuals can do on their own account.

Trevor Cook

My points are:
1. PR is legitimate, natural etc it is not inherently bad (something that I think few critics, including the cluetrainers, accept)
2. PR will embrace blogging and will thrive because PR is about the dissemination of ideas, information etc and the generation of dialogue (that doesn't mean that everyone in PR behaves that way but the good people do)
3. If you build a story on certain facts and those facts turn out to be largely or significantly false then you have to withdraw or revise the story (this is good journalism, good pr, good blogging)
4. Jay, criticism is not 'pathetic' and its not 'spin' its just criticism. There are different viewpoints in every debate.
5. I support strong legal sanctions to counter deception in PR, we should coalesce around that and aim for positive outcomes from this debate.


Jay Rosen

Criticism is not pathetic. We agree!

Neville Hobson

What I would take from your points, Trevor, is that, at the end of the day, you just press on doing your own 'good' PR for your employer or your clients and don't be unduly alarmed about Ketchum/Armstrong-type events.

Such events produce ripples in the pond, get a lot of talk, and then die down until the next one comes along and repeats the ripple effect.

This reinforces the point I made in this post about individual actions, even though the profession itself will remain a dirty one in the eyes of many.

Or am am I just in a rather cynical mood today?

Trevor Cook

"don't be unduly alarmed about Ketchum/Armstrong-type events."

Neville - I want to see people who commit fraud in the name of PR put in gaol (jail), not alarmed just pissed off and vengeful

"Criticism is not pathetic. We agree!"

Jay - that's spin buddy

Shel Holtz

I would also note that several of us have been "asking questions about their professional associations" well before Jay's post triggered anything.

Thomas Biegi

Hey Neville, I don't think Phenix's grassroots campaign will solve the perception problem of public relations. But I agree with you that the only way to improve the perception of public relations is through professionalism. I quoted you in my comment on this. Check out http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/ber/node/69
Best, Thomas

Neville Hobson

Thanks, Thomas. I left a little comment to your post ;)

Professionalism is the key word. As Shel notes in his comment, some people are asking what is the position of our professional associations. While grassroots programmes are well and good, as you say in your own post, I do believe that any meaningful impact will come only when one of the professional associations (PRSA, IABC, etc) stands up and speaks.

No sign of that, though.

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