Communicators: It’s Time to Have Your Cake and Eat it Too

When celebrating a brand’s anniversary, we are inclined to retell the defining moments, recall the origin stories, and share impressions that have had an indelible impact on the brand and the industry it serves. This is the year PR News celebrates its 75th anniversary and, for most of us, we were not even a glint in our parents’ eyes when, in 1944, Denny Griswold launched a newsletter to chronicle the people, issues and news of the PR trade. The newsletter, PR News, lives on to this day and has led to hundreds of other products and services that now make up the PR News family.

Denny was a pioneer and I am grateful for her perseverance and foresight in what was then a male-dominated business world and the concept of public relations was just taking hold.  When I mine the PR News archives, I find myself wanting to look forward. We are at the most exciting time in public relations – a critical juncture where communicators are gaining credibility in the C-suite and among stakeholders, but still risk losing ground if we don’t uphold the principles of accountability and measurement (see Barcelona Principles, Arthur Page) and if we aren’t more vocal in the important dialogues and budget meetings that our marketing counterparts tend to dominate.

When I came on board with PR News more than 23 years ago, I noticed the discourse around PR gravitated to media relations and specifically to press releases. As if that was all a PR practitioner was responsible for. We’ve come a long way from those days, though there is still an image problem (the cobbler’s children having no shoes, perhaps?). I see a future where the Chief Communications Officer is as prevalent as the Chief Marketing Officer. We can get there – and I  view our role at PR News as facilitating your rise and providing you with the access and tools to find your way there and thrive.

From a small newsletter, PR News has blossomed into a multi-platform brand that brings communicators together and the issues to light every day. We try to see around the corners for you while also recognizing that right here and now there is serious business to take care of. We can do more, I am sure, and I hope you’ll reach out to me and my colleagues with your wish list. (Thank you to the incredible PR News team for working hard every day to serve our customers. In alpha order: Seth Arenstein, Carol Brault, Mary-Lou French, Melissa Hoffmann, Amy Jefferies, Justin Joffee, Sophie Maerowitz, Ruslana Milikhiker, Megan Sigg, Laura Snitkovskiy, Katie Sullivan).

Our 75th anniversary is a celebration of you, our loyal readers, event attendees, award entrants and engaged voices across all our many platforms. We appreciate your support and we are committed to your success.

In the coming months, look for editorial features on the history of public relations, on what’s to come and fresh, new ideas to improve your communications strategies and prove your worth. We’ve updated our logo while also dusting off the “Proud to Be in PR” pins that Griswold and colleagues proudly wore at industry events. We will be publishing a commemorative Power of PR magazine in the fall and hosting an Anniversary Party in NY in October. There will be cake.

We may reach out to you to contribute your ideas and thoughts on the power of public relations, and we hope you’ll lend your voice. If we don’t reach out to you, please reach out to us. PR News’s anniversary is an homage to you and the incredible progress communicators have made to make a difference in all the communities it serves.

Diane Schwartz is SVP and group publisher of PR News. Follow her at: @dianeschwartz