“What is…” Wednesday – What is PR… according to reality T.V.?

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Photo Credit: E! Online

Photo Credit: E! Online

As PR pros, we are constantly asked, what is PR? What do you actually do? We have answered that question in a few blogs the over the years and we know that we will constantly be faced with this question.

I can’t help but wonder, are we being faced with this question because of pop culture?  As some of you may know, I am obsessed with reality TV.  I love everything from the dating shows to The Kardashians.  Lately, while I am binge-watching these ridiculous shows, the career field of PR is showing up more and more.

How is PR portrayed on these shows?

  • The Hills: The characters on The Hills have all gone through a PR career field at some point. It all started with Heidi Montag telling her career counselor at FIDM that she wanted to be in PR to “party all night, because that is what I like to do.”  Thankfully her counselor told her that would not happen in any career, let alone PR. Toward the end of the series, Lauren Conrad and Whiney Port got jobs with Kelly Cutrone’s fashion PR agency, Peoples Revolution. What did I learn here? PR is all about fashion shows and nightclubs.
  • The Spin Crowd: While the name should be enough to annoy PR pros, this one is especially ridiculous. The short-lived E! reality show focused on Kardashian pal Jonathan Cheban and Simon Huck, and their woes of the PR world. There was not a whole lot of work going on here, mostly grand openings and hanging out with celebrities. What did I learn here? PR is all about who you know and name dropping them as much as possible.
  • Kell on Earth: This show followed Kelly Cutrone after the success on The Hills. Really, it just showed Kelly running around yelling at everyone. What did I learn here? PR is all about fashion shows and yelling at people to get the job done.

In addition to all the reality shows, there have been countless TV shows and movies that portray PR people in both good, and extremely negative light.  If I had not taken PR courses at NAU, this would be the impression that I would have on the industry.

Let’s hope that one day there will be a correct portrayal of PR in the media.

What TV show or movie stands out to you as the most ridiculous portrayal of PR?

Kelly Potts
Kelly Potts
A former HMA Public Relations employee.

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