You Gotta Love a Good Headline

Although not quite as sensational as the New York Post's infamous  "Headless Man in Topless Bar," a recent headline in VTDigger -- a news website and nonprofit project of The Vermont Journalism Trust -- caught our attention.

With that journalistic pedigree, we were surprised to see the headline: "When Any PR is Bad PR."

To summarize, author Jon Margolis feels that the decision of the Green Mountain Care Board (a group of five appointed to oversee the design of a comprehensive health care system to serve every Vermonter) to seek outside public relations help communicating its vision was a bad idea.

We disagree.

At KSV, we believe that public relations is a key tool for open and transparent communications between brands, organizations and customers. That's why we took issue when this Vermont media outlet lashed out at PR professionals.

Here's our response to the article (also available in the Comments section - just scroll down):


I find it interesting -- and very helpful for visitors to your site -- that VTDigger has a section for press releases about various topics, ranging from the governor's current programs to announcements from nonprofits like the Mad River Food Hub to Attorney General Bill Sorrell's latest filings on behalf of the citizens of Vermont.

Just last week, I sent an email to your editor announcing a client's scholarship program. And yes, it was published on VTDigger.

Is Mr. Margolis suggesting that all of these news items should be banished because public relations professionals likely were involved?

If so, VTDigger soon would find itself very light on content. Not only that, voices and perspectives would be missing from the conversations that happen every day in the Vermont media scene.

VTDigger, like any other media outlet, has a responsibility to vet the information it receives before sharing it with the public. In turn, organizations and companies (including their PR firms) have an obligation to present truthful and accurate information. If that means that a small group of health care professionals relies on a public relations firm to inform the public of its activities, seek input on its progress, and share how and why the board plans to solve the tangled issues in question, then hiring a public relations professional or firm is an investment in realizing the goals of the organization.

On the media side, I would be curious to see how many outlets would claim never to have collaborated with a public relations representative or firm on a story. We share news, information and insights from our clients about the world around us. It's the media's obligation to determine if it's newsworthy.