Trevor Morris: PR a Persuasive “Sexy” Industry

ONE OF the biggest names in PR, Professor Trevor Morris posed the question “Is PR good for us?” at yesterdays Coventry Conversations lecture.

Whether it’s good for us or not Morris talked about how PR is “sexy” through various not so fictional interpretations of the fluffy and Machiavellian PR in television and film such as, the thick of it and absolutely fabulous.

There’s not much love lost between PR and Journalism Morris listed a few terms such as “scumbags”, “insensitive manipulative charlatans” and “sleazy”. However he spoke about journalisms dependency on PR due to the ‘sausage machine’ style production and even the jealously that he feels adds to journalisms detest for PR.

For prospective journalisms in the room he said: “To be honest there’s a very good chance you could end up in PR”. Morris also expressed his surprise at the lack of PR coverage in many journalism courses across the country:

“Personally I find it very surprising that there are journalism courses where there are no sessions on public relations that’s like an army not studying the enemy”

“Generally PR people tell the truth” was the start of another argument about the industry’s sensitivity to the assertions made about PR people: “It’s extremely rare for PR people to say black is white, 100 is 1000″ he continued to discuss the vested interest that inevitably leads PR people to arrange truth in a particular way. In the end Morris said: ” the truth is everybody lies a little bit”

As a PR man he considers himself an “intelligent dilettante” something he feels is a characteristic shared with journalists: “I think journalists are often intelligent dilettantes as well the difference between journalists and PR people is that PR people tend to be sociable, optimistic and out going and journalists tend to be more introverted, loners and more cynical”

“Morality like beauty is in the eye of the beholder”, was another argument to try and explain what Morris called the “amoral” industry in which he works. It’s all about what side your on, seemed to be the bottom line and is PR good for us? maybe the question should be what would the world be like without it?



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