Friday, May 01, 2009

PRoof Positive

It seems I spend a lot of my time explaining and defending public relations. It seems that people simply don't understand the profession, or they think they do and equate it either with mere publicity or as intentional deception. As I say to my students, the general public tends to minimize or demonize the public relations profession.

So it was nice last night to sit at Eve in the BOB and watch a number of hard-working local PR professionals receive PRoof Awards from the West Michigan PRSA chapter. As chapter president Andrea Clark mentioned to me before the program, there is a lot of PR talent in West Michigan.

Media host Gerry Barnaby was his usual entertaining and humorous self in reading the descriptions about the work. But he also made some heart-felt serious comments about how much he appreciates PR folks in the region who help him get information, ticket giveaways, and interviews for his radio program.

As I say and watched the parade of PRoof recipients, it was striking to see that the work they do is so varied. Large PR firms and sole practitioners were among those honored. PR tactics and campaigns recognized were associated with corporate, non-profit, and government organizations. The work went far beyond mere media relations, and all of it was notable for meeting stated objectives for an organization as well as keeping the public interest in mind.

The PRoof Awards prove once again the value and variety of our noble profession. It's too bad more executives and common citizens don't understand what PR really is, how PR people toil behind the scenes to advise clients to communicate effectively and ethically. But that's why these award programs are good--they help us encourage each other, reward hard work, and inspire integrity.

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