Oscar Night Redux: When Will Hollywood Dramatize Public Relations?

By Edward M. Bury, APR (aka The PRDude)

Like many here and around the world, I watched the Academy Awards presentation last night and was thrilled to learn “Spotlight” earned the Oscar of Best Picture.

Perhaps the ensemble cast and production team from "Spotlight" could reassemble to star in a film that centers on public relations.

Perhaps the ensemble cast and production team from “Spotlight” could reassemble to star in a film that centers on public relations.

As a former newsman, I found the film to be incredibly compelling and very well acted; but what really stood out to me: The story captured the inner-workings and drama of what often takes place in investigative news organizations.

“Spotlight” will join the ranks of other cinematic productions — from blockbusters like “All the President’s Men” to “Call Northside 777,” a post World War II film noir set in my old Chicago neighborhood — based on the news business.

Who could portray Ivy Ledbetter Lee on the big screen? My choice would be Kevin Spacey.

Who could portray Ivy Ledbetter Lee on the big screen? My choice would be Kevin Spacey.

But it also inspired this observation: The news profession, and many others, have been extensively chronicled by Hollywood.  So, why has the film industry — or the television industry, for that matter– failed to produce a drama, romcom, bromance or even a documentary about another communications profession (you guessed it), namely public relations?

So as a , The PRDude offers these possible scenarios for a movie treatment:

  1. “The Ivy Lee Story.” Imagine the tension that unfolds as Mr. Lee, called the father of modern public relations, drafts then disseminates his famous “Declaration of Principles.”
  2. “Crisis Communications — The Untold Story.” A behind-the-scenes docu-drama about what really goes on to mitigate bad news when something really, really bad happens to a big corporation.
  3. “The Strategist and The Tactician.” A romantic comedy between a by-the-book SVP and a feisty millennial AE;  set in a global shop that features free ice cream in the break room, of course.

And, you’re probably wondering why I didn’t suggest a movie about a guy who blogs about public relations (and other stuff).

Some stories aren’t meant for the silver screen, you know.


Pinning (P)interesting Pictures of PR Pros on Pinterest

By Edward M. Bury, APR (aka The PRDude)

A few posts back, the PR Dude offered some thoughts on Pinterest, the social media platform that has generated the most ink — strike that, the most bytes I guess — since, well December of last year.

I learned about Pinterest the old-fashioned way: I read about the platform, its uses and its growth in the Business Section of the Sunday Chicago Tribune.  (Followers of The PRDude know I have fully embraced technology, but will read printed journalism as long as it’s published.)  Still a novice Pinner, I do question the design of the logo, which looks like it was borrowed from a fast-casual restaurant.

A novice Pinner, I am. But am puzzled by the logo: Looks like it was designed for a fast-casual restaurant chain.

Since my Pinterest revelation, I’ve read several provocative articles on the platform, which basically lets subscribers “pin” images from websites and those already on their hard drives to boards arranged in categories.   Here are two great articles for the uninitiated to consider:

  • In this February 7 piece, Jason Falls provides a well-written and researched overview perspective for the online version of Entrepreneur magazine.  My biggest take away from the article is the final paragraph:  “One thing is clear whether you’re on Pinterest for personal or business reasons: the best images — be they funny, beautiful or thought provoking — attract the most attention and followers.
  • Writing in the Harvard Business Review, Grant McCracken takes a more scholarly approach,  making a case for the research value of the platform:  “It’s a chance to see American culture as if from a glass-bottom boat. Yes, some of it is a little reductive. But sometimes what people stuff into the categories is a chance for us to see exactly what they mean. Pinterest is a little Rosetta Stone, a table of equivalencies.”

Perhaps I’ll craft such erudite and insightful comments after I add a few boards and pin lots of cool and awesome images. But I did add a new category today:  “Legends and Leaders of Modern Public Relations.”

Visit my Pinterest profile to see what I posted.  I mean, “pinned.”  For those who don’t want to make the journey to my profile, I pinned images of four legends of public relations.   They’re pinned — I mean “posted” below.  These three men and one woman are among the visionary communicators who helped mold the practice of public relations to where it is today for many of us:  One built on ethics and full disclosure of information, and structured around realistic goals and objectives and sound strategies.  Of course, they never imagined the impact of technology on communications, but I trust they would incorporate digital communications effectively and responsibly.


Ivy Ledbetter Lee


Edward Bernays


Doris Fleischman


Arthur W. Page


Do you know who these people are and what they did to help establish modern public relations? If not, google them.   If you call yourself a public relations professional, you should know what they did a century ago.

Many more could be added to this list.  Share your thoughts.  I’ll pin them.  Personally.