|May 18, 2010|
|Harris Diamond Bolsters PR's Reputation|
|By Kevin McCauley|
|Weber Shandwick CEO Harris Diamond gave the reputation of PR a mighty boost over the weekend with his commencement speech at the prestigious Annenberg Center, the journalism school of the University of Southern California. |
He is the first PR executive to address the commencement class.
Diamond told the graduates that the "idea of information is under assault" because in today's communications world "everything is opinion, everything is relative and everything is spin."
Today's communications is about controversy, not information. "This is what I mean by the assault on information. The facts—the truths—that used to establish limits for PR and aspirations for journalism are under attack," Diamond said on May 14.
Noting that the boundaries between news and commentary are blurring, Diamond believes it is up to future journalists and public relations professionals to pursue "objective truths." Joked Diamond: "The flack, of all people, is lecturing you about truth."
The Weber Shandwick pro warned that if information is unreliable, if truth doesn’t matter, if reality is a commodity that a journalist or PR person can manufacture then communication is reduced to being a service than nobody needs to buy.
He called for an ethical renewal, a return to the notion that objective information exists and that it sets the "boundaries for what we do."
Diamond urged graduates to seek truth in their work, whether they’re pursuing journalism or public relations.
My bet is that many of the graduates were wowed by Diamond. Weber Shandwick will be getting plenty of resumes from those people. The Interpublic unit should showcase Diamond's speech as part of its business development effort.
The PR community owes Diamond a debt of gratitude.
Return to Latest News