Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Public Relations Licensing

Over at Shel Holtz's blog, a shel of my former self, the intrepid blogger, podcaster and king of all media debates my question of whether the public relations industry should police itself by creating a regulatory board.

Shel ponders the feasibility of a standard PR license:

"Any communication challenge can be approached a thousand different ways, and it takes just one creative thinker to come up with a thousand-and-first. What will work with an target audience in Los Angeles may not succeed with one in Mississippi. Culture plays a part. You just can’t test PR the way you can test accounting."

In a similar vein, Neville Hobson, the other intrepid blogger, podcaster and king of all media, posted this comment on my blog:

"The state bar idea is a very good one, clearly a workable concept in the US. How about the rest of the world, the 200+ countries with their own laws and business practices? For instance, I can see the fun trying to get this idea even discussed in the European Union.

"And don't forget that what's illegal or very bad ethical practice in one country isn't necessarily so in another."

Excellent points, gentlemen.

What if we created a baseline set of standards that are acceptable to each region? What say we adopted ten mutually agreed upon, inviolable rules? For example: No agency may pay a pundit, be that in cash, gifts or even the standard wine & dine. After setting these rules in stone, then any agency that violates these rules would be subject to censure and possible revocation of license.

Then, in turn, each region adopts a secondary coda that outlines its local standards.

Comments? Suggestions?