PR Britain.

A nothing-story on the BBC website about how some self-promoter didn’t put an apostrophe in their company logo

My favourite comment?

160. Mick
Surely the BBC is old enough to know when it’s being used as part of a publicity gimmick? If it isn’t, then some sackings might concentrate minds.

It is very hard to find news written by journalists, not Press Officers.

I think I have already mentioned the 2008 book I read- ‘Flat Earth News’ by Nick Davies, the sub-title is “An Award-winning Reporter Exposes Falsehood, Distortion and Propaganda in the Global Media”. The facts make for a shocking picture of how the way we perceive the world today is openly coloured by vested interests.

I quote a customer review of Flat Earth News that I’ve taken straight off Amazon:

(The author)..cites a Cardiff University study of four quality papers which found that 60% of their home news stories were wholly from wire agencies, mainly the Press Association, or PR material, 20% partially so, 8% from unknown sources, and just 12% generated by reporters. The Press Association reports only what is said, it has no time to check whether it is true. There are now more PR people, 47,800, than journalists, 45,000.

News websites run by media firms recycle 50% of their stories from the two international wire agencies, Associated Press and Reuters; those run by internet firms recycle 85% of their stories from those two. On a typical day, Google News offered `14,000′ stories – actually retelling just 24 events.

The government has 1,500 press officers, issues 20,000 press releases a year, and also spends millions more of our money on PR firms. The Foreign Office spends £600 million a year on `public diplomacy’. The CIA spent $265 million on `information operations’ in 1978 alone, more than the world’s three biggest news agencies together. It focuses its efforts on the New York Times, CBS, Newsweek and Time.

A Guardian blog by Greenslade does well to sum up the PR vs. Journalism situation in the UK.

Now of course, PR’s endemic and should be recognised for what it is.

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