Excuse us for the inflammatory headline courtesy of Guardian UK’s media commentator Roy Greenslade–but it certainly got our attention.
We agree with Michael Ramah of Porter Novelli when he reassures us that any report of an “impending meltdown” within the public relations industry is nothing but a bunch of noise—didn’t we tell you in August that the business is doing “just fine, thanks?”
Now here’s the key question: Is the PR field growing too large and influential for its own good?
The Guardian piece is far too short and lacking in specifics to truly facilitate an in-depth conversation on the topic, but we’d like to think it leads back to our piece about “brand journalism” and the role of a PR discipline blessed with growing influence in an increasingly fractured media world. Greenslade is primarily concerned with a series of studies showing that the numerical advantage PR pros hold over journalists continues to grow. In the United States, studies find the current ratio to be 4:1—and some authors advocate government subsidies to help keep the journalism profession viable.
Greenslade’s argument is that, as PR pros continue to outnumber journalists, the public will be deprived of a crucial filter (the press) that serves to hold the feet of politicians, businessmen, and publicists to the fire.