The legendary ABC sportscaster Howard Cosell was famous for an oft-repeated, self-congratulatory description of his coverage. 'I'm just telling like it is,' he'd brag. And, he did just that.
Cosell's signature line comes to mind each week as I scour the various advertising and PR trade publications for the latest news, trends and happenings. As a Cosell devotee, I gravitate toward those media I believe are actually telling it like it is.
Advertising Age is the best in the business when it comes to balanced reporting. Their journalists aren't afraid of shining a glaring spotlight on the industry's good, bad and ugly. In the past few issues alone, they've outed serial marketers such as 1-800-Flowers and Chipotle while positively skewering DDB for clinging to an outdated business model that hasn't kept pace with the times. I admire the fact that Ad Age doesn't mince words. I trust the editorial content.
Adweek has done the best job of reporting the murkiness that is marketing communications in 2010. They've repeatedly covered the rise of PR, decline of traditional advertising and free-for-all melee every type of agency is embroiled in as we grapple for 'owning the idea' and the lion's share of the client's budget. Adweek even named Edelman as its PR agency of the year. That's never happened before (and is an awesome thing for Edelman in particular and PR in general).
PR Week's new approach is a vast improvement. The editorial dives deep into the world of corporate and marketing communications, and really tells me what's keeping my clients and prospects up at night. They've also started to attack shoddy corporate campaigns such as Ann Taylor. But, unlike its advertising brethren, PR Week is loathe to really take off the gloves. Their cover story profiles remind me of my old Catholic school days spent reading 'The Lives of the Saints.' PR Week also overlooks what's new in advertising and digital, which is unfortunate. I'd love a sole source that focuses on my profession, but tells me what I need to know about sister disciplines.
That said, PR Week has no competitors in our industry. Some, like PR News, fill a nice niche with their 'how to' content. Others, like Bulldog Reporter, add lots of valuable insight through webinars. I also turn to Bulldog for my daily news brief and a snapshot of what other PR bloggers are writing.
Public relations deserves a go-to journal that mixes the hard-hitting, damn the torpedoes approach of Ad Age and the diversity of Adweek. It's time our industry had its own Howard Cosell that tells it like it is.