The ground shifting underneath the feet of PR

The PR industry is firmly ensconced on sinking sand. I am more and more convinced of that. Here are a few reasons:

-the SEC just announced financial information can legitimately be distributed via company websites and blogs

– the post-media world is very much here with the rapidly growing recognition that the public, stakeholders and specific audience groups all expect to get information directly from those impacting them, and not through the media (note rapid growth of notification systems in universities and now public agencies)

– the changing way today’s journalists/bloggers want to do the research and get info. Note this post by Michael Arrington of Techcrunch, and these comments by Steve Rubel of the Micro Persuasion blog. The point is made that traditional methods of pitching stories just don’t much work any more.

The whole picture reminds me of the tragedy of massed lines of troops facing a Gatling gun in the Civil War. The whole world had changed, but old habits and ways of thinking die hard. The massacre was bloody to say the least.

I am not predicting the end of the PR profession–because I think that these changes will elevate the role of communicators who have a full and deep understanding of the role of communication in building trust for an organization. But, those who continue to think (as I am amazed so many still do) that the job of PR is to crank out press releases and wine and dine and cajole reporters to carry their stories–those people are the buggy whip makers of today.