by Roger Pynn
No self-respecting public relations professional would ever think it is OK to produce fake news. It flies in the face of every ethical guideline … and, oh, by the way … it goes beyond dumb to qualify as just plain stupid.
As The Poynter Institute’s Jim Romenesko reported, a California water management district seemed to think it was just fine, leading me to wonder “who is in charge of public relations at the Central Basic Municipal Water District?”
I reached out to Valerie Howard, who is listed as the District’s media contact on its website, to ask whether the decision to use News Hawks Review, which Romenesko reported is affiliated with an outside communications firm that contracts with the District, was made internally or at the suggestion of outside counsel.
Her response: “It’s unfortunate how quickly inaccurate news spreads. We’re drafting our request for corrections now.”
I don’t get it. The media is increasingly irrelevant, anyway. People don’t need fake news. There is plenty of direct communication going on and intelligent people are making their own judgments on issues. Why not build your own lines of communications and let influencers and opinion leaders – the people who matter to you – make up their minds?
Ours is a misunderstood business. True professionals need to do everything they can to separate themselves from this kind of conduct and guide their organizations and clients toward meaningful, independent and transparent communication.