Anil Thakraney: PR kiya toh bhi darne ka!

08 Jul,2013

By Anil Thakraney

 

So I was dining with a few senior journalists on the weekend. The issue of Charudatta Deshpande came up, and somebody mentioned how stressful PR has become due to the intense pressure these professionals face from both, the clients and/or their own bosses. Since I have never worked in PR (in fact, my key result area is to undo all the good work they do, hehe), so I have no first-hand experience of this function. But yes, one can easily imagine life must be very difficult for these guys in the world of cut-throat media, I don’t envy them at all.

 

Some journalists prefer to move to corporate communications after they’ve done their bit in the media. This could be either because they couldn’t cut it in journalism, or they desire a cool, well paying job before they walk into the sunset. The corporates like to hire journalists because of their ‘expertise’ in communications, and because of the belief that having been a part of the media, they will bring with them powerful ‘connections’. This is where the trouble lies. The moment a journalist becomes a PR professional, he/she turns into a pariah in the media world. (Unless that person is a foxy operator like Ms Niira Radia, but that’s another story.) Therefore these so-called connections are of little or no use. A good editor will characteristically keep PR professionals miles away. And when the corporate communications head isn’t able to bring in ‘favourable’ press, it gets the senior executives very disappointed, even angry.

 

Then there’s a flip side to it. When the PR person promises interesting, inside information to journalists, in order to get them interested in the organization, he/she ends up playing with fire. Because one can never be sure which information is kosher to share and which needs to be concealed. This tight rope walk can be very stressful, one can never be sure where this very thin line lies.

 

In short, PR nahin kiya toh trouble. And PR kiya toh bhi trouble. No wonder there’s so much anxiety. I think I’ll stick to journalism even though it doesn’t pay as much as corporate communications. I don’t get invited to glitzy parties, I don’t get the perks, I don’t get to hobnob with the rich and the powerful. Chalta hai. At least I get to sleep like a baby.

 

PS: The TOI has introduced an app called ‘ALIVE’, which helps you download photos and share them with your pals. All very nice. But when they used ‘ALIVE’ on this particular image, it gave me the shivers. The positioning of ‘ALIVE’ makes you think poor Ishrat Jahan is still around. Gasp!

 

Anil Thakraney is a senior journalist and commentator. He is also Editor-at-Large, MxMIndia. The views expressed here are his own. He can be reached via Twitter at @anilthakraney

 

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8 responses to “Anil Thakraney: PR kiya toh bhi darne ka!”

  1. Dhiraj Mahindra says:

    It’s very disheartening when a journalist of such seniority and caliber comes up with a shallow thought. Dear Mr. Anil Thakraney, please don’t be “Kue ka mendhak” (lone frog in the well). I would request you to indulge more with the PR fraternity..at least the senior execs for now.. and I’m sure your notion won’t be the same. It is not right on one’s part to comment on something which he does not have an in-depth idea of. I think a journalist of your stature will be well aware of that fact.

  2. bhuvana says:

    I must say this is a very shallow article. I personally have friends who have moved from journalism to PR and have added tremendous value to the firm they have joined. They are proud of their journalism background and glad they can bring their knowledge on-aboard. While monetary benefits is one reason why people migrate it’s also the opportunity to learn something new and become industry experts.

    PR job is not just about dining with hob-nobs and attending happening Dos. We ideate on behalf of our clients, our inputs are considered for marketing plans and when there is a crisis we drop everything to ensure the crisis is handled well.

  3. Anamika says:

    I am very disappointed by your take on PR professionals, seems like a old frustrated journo. Have seen your types also scum to PR professionals when you need a quote from the client. Oops I forgot then its OK! as it is the PR persons job, but when the same person does another aspect of his job may be follow up on a release u up your nose. Quite hypocritical what say?

  4. Sujata says:

    You’ve mentioned you’ve no first-hand knowledge of PR, and boy does it show. You have no idea about either journalism or PR – there are fine professionals in both fields, but obviously they keep a safe distance from you. At least do your research and find out what kind of journalist and PR professional Charudatta was, before writing such ill-informed, immature, shallow stuff. With hacks like you around, no wonder people are rushing to become PR professionals. Please read up the articles by Shyamal Majumdar, and others on the same case – express your views, but be informed and be responsible. You could begin your education with this one:
    http://www.livemint.com/Opinion/PO2VpbbXhLqTQ8FHnmCaFJ/Remembering-Charudatta-Deshpande.html

  5. SS says:

    I think you need to get in the shoes of a PR professional before commenting…it definitely doesn’t look ‘professional’. And let’s not forget how publications are biased, and forced to write all goody goody stuffs for tainted individual…and media should come out of this dream that they are perfect…you know that’s not the case…

  6. Vikram Kharvi says:

    Have been a regular reader of your columns, but this one line in your article is very disappointing. “A good editor will characteristically keep PR professional’s miles away,” this sounds like PR professionals are infected with life threatening disease and the so called “Good Editors” are gods descended from heaven. Most PR practitioners are thorough professionals; there must be some exceptions, so are in the journalism field as well. Commenting something on a profession just because you can does not go well with a respectable personality like you.

  7. Himanshu Agarwal says:

    Will be nice to see the views of Amith Prabhu on this post 🙂

  8. Sunita Pendse says:

    Good post, Anil! Remember: Maut wohi jo duniya dekhe, ghut ghut ke yun marna kay? CD literally lived up (?) to this.. sadly. But yes, PR / Communications can be stressful and thankless. But if you believe what you are doing is right and fair, it gives you the strength to stand up to your convictions, not matter what others around you say.