If you follow Jonathan Cheban or Simon Huck on Twitter, you’re no stranger to the new E! reality show “The SPINdustry,” which takes viewers behind the scenes of NYC firm Command PR.
As a PR student, I had negative feelings towards the show before it even aired. I’ve learned throughout college that “spin” is a curse word in the PR dictionary. However, since I’m a TV addict, I decided to watch the show. It was hard for me to only think of it as entertainment, because it’s about the industry I will soon be a part of.
According to the show, you don’t need to know how to write a communication plan or press release, but to get your boss’ sandwich order right instead. Actually, I take that back. I think press release was mentioned once.
My issue is not really with the show because I understand it’s for entertainment. I only hate the way it makes the PR industry look. The women working for Command PR don’t seem educated at all (it could be the editing, but who knows).
When someone asks me what my major is, they look confused when I say “PR.”
Then I usually get a comment like, “what’s that?” or “what can you do with that?”
I get upset thinking about how the show will affect the perception of the PR industry.
Command PR seems to focus on the publicity of celebrities, which is completely different from PR. According to a dictionary definition, publicity is “extensive mention in the news media or by word of mouth or other means of communication,” whereas, PR focuses on building relationships with target publics.
Since the show aired last Sunday night, it has become a trending topic on blogs and Twitter.
In her blog, “Little Pink Book PR,” Sasha H. Muradali wrote “I know the show is for entertainment, but I don’t appreciate how it makes my industry, my degree and the field I work in look to people on the outside.”
Muradali also had an interesting conversation with Cheban and Huck via Twitter. Cheban replied with some not-so-nice words, which is not good PR (I might add).
Just a few negative tweets about the show:
MRiley2 : “It was painful to watch…RT @ashgin116: #SPINdustry is an embarrassment to PR professionals everywhere. ugh, lame…”
JennaGlynn: “Chatter in my office about #spindustry. Did E! Turn PR pros everywhere upside down last night?”
samhowsare: “#SPINdustry is going to make people think #PR is all about planning events and dealing w/ celebs.”
Cheban hasn’t hesitated to respond to the negative comments. If he is a big-time PR professional, why would he even waste his time responding negatively? He’s definitely not building relationships by rudely responding to tweets.
I’m not taking anything away from Cheban and Huck for their company or show. Good for them if their show is a success. In fact, I think it probably will be successful, because people thrive off the so-called “reality TV” show.
I think the show does nothing for the PR industry, and using the s-word makes it harder to legitimize PR.
by Haley Barr