Published by Kogan Page on April 28th 2017
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Reading the Myths of PR by Rich Leigh took my back to the first semester of my public relations degree. My initial lecturers were former News Ltd journalists turned jaded PR pros. They taught me how my years in marketing was wasted now I was in public relations. And they taught me how journalists and PR pros are such opposites and could never work together. There’s even a chapter in the Myths of PR on the relationship between public relations and news media.
What’s the Myths of PR is about?
Its purpose is to shatter widespread misconceptions about PR, and grant readers insights into why these myths have endured in spite of clearly demonstrable evidence to the contrary.
I suppose the book meets the promise. Rich covers spin, all publicity is good, the perceived glamor of public relations. Really all the standard complaints about PR. None of the allegations were new to me. But I struggle with his answers. While being technically correct and supported by case studies and personal anecdotes, they read like a weary justification of life choices. Thus why I was reminded of my early PR lecturers. To be fair, Rich is in the UK. I studied PR and started my career in Australia before moving to the US. Things may be different for Rich.
Who Should Read the Myths of PR?
I wrote this before re-reading the book’s synopsis again which states the book is designed “as a vehicle for helping startup owners, brand marketers, communications practitioners, and students”. I wrote that I suspected Rich intended this book to be for PR students and the general public interested in PR. I wasn’t far off. However, the Myths of PR assumes a little too much public relations knowledge. This may confuse some. The defensive attitude is also a turn-off. Who wants a career where you’re constantly having to justify your industry choice?
So if you’re feeling done in by your public relations career choice, this book will provide you with confirmation bias. If you’re looking to be reminded how public relations has changed the world, I recommend reading the results of the Ice Bucket Challenge and Dumb Ways to Die.