RepTV Co-hosts Paul Merchan and Steve Cody discuss the increasing ‘feminization’ of PR that was highlighted in a recent New York Magazine article.
Are there too many young white females in our field? And, what are the long-term implications?
Peppercommers Samantha Bruno and Nick Gilyard provide their views with Paul and Steve in a fast-paced, no holds barred RepTV episode. So take a look and we’re REALLY anxious for your comments…
Why thank you, Tom. Weird to see the late, but not lamented, Wishner-Cody name again in print.
I now have a rocking chair in my office and a green (for money) blanket. Plus hounds tooth suits are my go to suit of choice.
One point not addressed in RepTV (love the retro “rabbit ears” in the logo, btw) is this: Young white women more often than not are offered entry-level positions in PR because these jobs historically do not pay very well (leading to the Pink Ghetto). Employers know that young white men will ask for (and expect) a higher salary than their female counterparts, who are just grateful to get a job offer in this challenged economy.
Excellent point Julie! I would say that your point is representative of a larger problem surrounding occupations viewed as female. I think many people do believe that women possess certain skills that inherently make them supreme PR practitioners. If PR goes the way of nursing (defeminizing the occupation) I think we will see an increase in pay and male/female diversity in entry-level positions.
I am proud to say my mentor was Steve Cody at Wishner Cody Corporate Communications.
The pink ghetto started forming in the late 1980’s. Most men have not chosen to head into PR/media relations in favor of working on Wall Street and other professions (journalism). PR/media relations is a misunderstood industry and is often labeled as event planning. Our industry has changed so much lately that true publicity has gone the way of the dodo bird. The industry started falling apart when firms started taking a shot gun approach to PR and faded away from relationship management and helping client shape their stories.
I agree with you that the industry overall is umisunderstood. I was just discussing with a colleague the other day about how so much of our job is educating clients and the public about what it is we do and what kind of results they can/should expect from public relations.
I have actually been back on campus a couple of times to speak to groups of students about Public Relations, so I agree with you Lunchboy. That said, I don’t think it is the only step that needs to be taken to diversify, although it is a start. I think we also need to consider what can be done on the agency level.
I think a good solution would be for execs like Samantha, Nick, Paul and myself to step up to the plate and take on adjunct PR teaching positions at local colleges/universities. Really show the next generation(s) what PR is, what it can be, and what it is not on a grand scale.
As for a recco for RepTV – you need a desk and even seats…I mean, what are you going to tap your pencil on without a desk?!
Great suggestion. As someone who just graduated 2 months ago I’m not sure I feel comfortable teaching just yet. However, I do plan on serving as a resource/mentor to PR students at my alma mater. I think that mentorship is only a small portion of the larger issues for minorities pursuing a career in PR. As I mentioned during the interview, I’d like to see the agencies take a more active role in recruiting diverse entry-level hires.