Why the “Spin Room?”

Author’s note: Sorry for the delay in posts. I’ve just started a new internship as well as a new semester and had been trying to figure out how best to balance everything. Unfortunately, the blog got pushed to the back burner but I’m glad to be back and posts will be more frequent now that my schedule has been worked out. I couldn’t think of a better post than to address my reasoning behind choosing “The Spin Room” name. Hope you enjoy! 

For the longest time I struggled with coming up with a creative name for my blog. In fact, this dilemma is what has contributed greatly to delaying the launch of a blog for over a now year.  When contemplating names, I always kept coming back to the “spin room” phrase. Few other terms are so closely associated with both public relations and politics. But, I was concerned about the negative associations with public relations and the light that we are often times cast in–as manipulators–masters of spin.

Many public relations and communications professionals resent the bad reputation that PR gets and I have to admit that I’m one of them. So then, why would I choose to name my blog with one of the descriptive terms that is so often used to the detriment of our field? The answer is simple. I choose to embrace it. No, I do not embrace the negative stereotypes nor do I embrace the morals, or lack there of, that are so often considered synonymous with our field. Whether we like it or not (or care to admit it) the vast amount of the general public think that we are manipulative people. It’s our job to change that perception. After all, isn’t one of the many aspects of our field brand management and brand resuscitation? Public relations needs a resuscitation. We need a resuscitation.

Too long have we allowed ourselves to be understood as the bad guys. Especially when, in the past few years, we have made strides to combat this image. Consider the lengths that PRSA has gone to make ethics and professional conduct a core of our field. But, do many people outside of our profession know this?

As a college junior, whenever I see family members or friends who haven’t seen me in awhile the second or third question (after the obligatory “How are you?”) is always what are you studying? When I tell them communication with the intent to go into public relations, nine times out of ten I get a shocked look and a snarky comment.

“Oh, you want to be one of those guys?”

or

“Why not just be lawyer? They’re both liars but lawyers get paid better?”

Clearly, our perception and image problem runs deep. When I receive a comment like this, I always respond with a level head and highlight the high regard that ethics has within our profession and that, unfortunately, there are a few practitioners who have caused the whole profession to have a bad reputation.

When offering a rebuttal to these questions I also ask people to consider the following (some may disagree with my outlook). Public relations professionals believe that their first–and  most important–responsibility is to the public.  Yes, our clients are a close second but above all else, we must be honest and transparent with the public and publics that we are serving.

Let us, as a profession, embrace the terms that are used to negatively describe us. President Obama did this by embracing the Republican party’s branding of the Affordable Care Act as “Obamacare.” He dulled their Obamacare sword. In fact, they gave him a gift. They should have seen the obvious, yet oh so slight, change that could be made to their term–Obama cares.

Let us show that PR cares. We care about the publics that we serve. We care about the clients that we represent. We care about you–all of you.

Welcome to the Spin Room. There will be no spin here. Only honesty and, hopefully, a bit of fun.

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