What the PRCA and NLA can learn from Winston Churchill!

Winston ChurchillIt was Winston Churchill, one of the greatest statesmen that ever lived, who said “In war: resolution. In defeat: defiance. In victory: magnanimity. In peace: goodwill.”

Given the acrimonious legal battles that the PRCA has been having with the NLA and the subsequent decision at the Court of Justice of the European Union, I think it’s time for both sides to do well in remembering those words.

Let’s face it.

Both sides must build a new bridge – a better, more robust bridge – where the focus is on collaboration rather than conflict. And in my opinion it can be done as there’s a heap of goodwill on the PRCA side for this to happen – and repairing this broken relationship should start now.

The motivation for doing so is obvious.

The power of the media as a channel for connecting with desired audience and customer segments is becoming disintermediated by the web.

Looking to make money by charging the PR industry for the right to circulate clips from newspapers and magazines looks increasingly like a business model beyond its ‘sell by’ date. It reminds me of another business model that’s also rapidly becoming obsolete – the BBC radio and TV licence.

The skills required of PR practitioners has changed beyond recognition in the last couple of years and now the ‘best of the best’ in our industry have dumped the term ‘public relations’ as a proxy for “media relations” and instead have forcefully rewired the word ‘public’ back into the meaning of “public relations”.

Today PR is less about “media relations” and much more about directly communicating with audiences and customer segments without always going through the lens of the media. Newspapers and magazines owners are up against it. They must continually fight to be relevant in a world of Twitter, Facebook and social media.

Which is why I suggest they don’t see the PR industry as a potential stream for incremental revenue. Clippings that can be distributed and shared throughout the PR world is rather good PR for the newspaper and magazine industry as it continues to demonstrate its relevance. So why continue to want to charge the PR industry for this privilege?

Instead, it’s in the interests of NLA members to seek to collaborate with the PRCA.

Let’s hope we can move forwards in achieving that goal.

Ardi Kolah is an elected Member of PRCA Council

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