Lessons in PR from PCC?

PR practitioners should be interested in the  ruling reported in “Beware the onward march of citizen journalism” by the Independent.

The judgement relates to mobile phone video footage of unruly pupils at the near Glasgow.  This was taken by a pupil and then published on the website of the  without permission from the school authorities, the children or their parents.

The publication also failed to contact the school in respect of the footage which was linked to a story about unruly pupils.

This highlights the need for care in supplying material to online media – but also emphasises an opportunity to take action in the case of materials that may break the PCC code.

The PCC can only rule on websites operated by newspapers and magazines – and it claims this ability to intervene will help readers distinguish such sites as being more accurate than “unregulated news services”.

Bob Satchwell, executive director of the , is cited as believing such control will help newspapers and magazines “maintain the quality of their brand on the internet.”

It is an interesting argument that traditional media have a “hard-won reputation for accuracy and quality”, given the recent scandals over phone in competitions and “fake footage” in documentaries.

In the case of newspapers, there is a lot to be questioned in respect of the accuracy of many of their more sensationalist stories – which have often been “crafted” by press agents, such as Max Clifford (famously ““).

If newspapers and magazines believe their brand value is dependent on a reputation for quality – this needs to be reflected more consistently. 

Undoubtedly, the public will increasingly select their sources of information on the basis of who they feel they can trust.  Whether or not this is, or will be, the traditional media, is another matter.


  1. jameshigham says:

    “unregulated news services”

    Immediate alarm bells for bloggers.

  2. In my experience the nature of any organisation involved in regulating is that they’d like to have more responsibility.

    Whether PCC sees its remit extending beyond the online versions of offline mags/newspapers, isn’t clear. I expect its first target would be online only “publications” rather than blogs.

    I do think as professional communicators (who happen to publish via the blog terchnology), we appreciate the benefits to our credibility of respecting confidentiality and so on, as covered by a lot of these codes.

    That doesn’t mean to say that I want to be controlled or regulated by the PCC etc though.

  3. Matt Wardman says:

    I feel that the safest thing is for

    Perhaps the place the line will end up getting drawn will be “corporate” and “personal”.

    btw Britblog Roundup now up.

  4. Matt Wardman says:

    I feel that the safest thing is for us to stay totally unregulated- but we shall see.

    Perhaps the place the line will end up getting drawn will be “corporate” and “personal”. So if my blog grows and becomes an onlione magazine with employees it will be subject to PCC.

    btw Britblog Roundup now up.

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