The CIPR ostrich

The Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) proclaims it is “the eyes, ears and voice of the public relations industry” in the UK.

I think that’s rather worrying.

It seems to me that those eyes, ears and voice are deeply rooted in the past and have little relevance to evolving PR practice and the needs of practitioners in the 21st century, if what CIPR director general Colin Farrington talks about is any indicator.

Following Farrington’s earlier extraordinary views about blogs, he’s at it again in his blind dismissal of social media, blogs especially, as David Brain reports in his latest video-post at 60 Second View.

David says that in the latest issue of Profile, the CIPR member magazine, Farrington continues his live demo on how wholly out of touch he (and, by extension, the CIPR) is concerning blogs. “If there are any good blogs still around in six months I’ll come back to it,” Farrington says. (Didn’t PR Week UK’s editor say something very similar not long ago?)

See David’s video post for the details – including his reading the content of a two-page letter he’s written to the CIPR – and Richard Bailey’s take (plus the comments there).

I see a real conflict in the CIPR. On the one hand, there is the director general with some peculiar views about communication channels that at the very least are worth paying attention to; on the other hand, the CIPR president Tony Bradley who is a pretty good blogger and seems to be very much in tune with things.

Do these two see eye to eye, I wonder.

Neville Hobson

Social Strategist, Communicator, Writer, and Podcaster with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Believer in an Internet for everyone. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Avid tea drinker.

  1. Dominic Jones

    I see a real conflict in the CIPR.

    Doesn’t this extend to the entire communication profession(s)? I saw it this week after a seminar I did for the Canadian Investor Relations Institute on trends for IR websites. I spent most of the time talking about blogs, podcasts, RSS, XBRL, social bookmarking etc.

    The feedback highlighted how the profession seems to be split between doubters and people who can’t seem to get enough information about Web 2.0 and participatory communication. The doubters were in the minority, but they are vocal.

    On reflection, though, I think we need people like Farrington. They help to keep believers on their toes and make us question and hone our arguments, especially if they have well reasoned arguments themselves.

  2. Simon Collister

    Hi Neville

    There was a similar debate here (more than one post) when Colin first made his comments.

    Aside from being out-of-touch with the wider industry in the UK, I really do wonder about Colin’s own ignorance of the CIPR and its members.

    Colin’s petulant outburst in the latest issue of Profile is then countered by not one, but two articles on blogging by Stephen “PR Blogger” Davies and the BBC’s media correspondent, Torin Douglas.

  3. A PR Guru's Musings - Stuart Bruce

    CIPR’s elected officers must clarify policy…

    Colin Farrington has been at it again with his latest comments on blogs – he doesn’t tackle any other forms of social media, but perhaps that’s a good thing! I won’t rehash the arguments about why Colin has got it…

  4. neville

    Wholly out of touch, Simon. Doesn’t reflect well on the CIPR.

    But I also think that, as Dominic says, views such as Farrington articulates will help the believers better focus the pros/cons arguments.

    Still, not a good situation overall. Stuart has some very good points in his post re CIPR policy and who should be talking about such things.

  5. Simonsays

    PR professionals need a social media Code of Conduct…

    Constantin Basturea reports that a debate is ranging over at Wikipedia about the use of ‘pay-for-edit’ firms writing clients’ entries. The debate was sparked by a US firm, MyWikiBiz, which charges clients $49 to produce a stub or $79 for…

  6. » The Tetchy Emperor Part II sixtysecondview: Sixty second interviews from pr, media and politics

    […] Following on from my recent video blog regarding Colin Farrington’s leader in Profile magazine about blogging and social media I have just received this letter via snail mail from Mr Farrington himself where he cheerfully depolys the sixth form debating tactic of mischaracterising the argument against him. Good to know that older members of the CIPR have their champion. […]

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