Kel Kelly

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Whether it's topical news, internet happenings, social media, public relations, marketing, start-ups, mobile shiz or whatever, I promise to wade through the bullshit and give you my unbuffered perspective.

You'll note I never take on a "corporate tone" — whether I'm chatting you up at a party or speaking to the CEO of a multi-billion dollar company, my voice never changes. I say what's on my mind and I'm often the champion of the underdog.

I'm a social media junkie and smoke Google Analytics in a crack pipe to get my day going. I hope my immersed insight and offbeat view make you laugh. More importantly, I hope you take a second and share your thoughts by posting a comment. If you have any ideas on how to make my blog better, shoot an email to kel@kelandpartners.com.

Peace out.

Please Stop Stereotyping

January 30, 2012 9:07 PM

It was a complete buzz kill to see the Business Insider post  What PR People Really Think Of Journalists. The post was written by a PR person under the alias “Pitchman” in response to David Strom’s post 10 Biggest PR Blunders of 2011. I appreciate Pitchman’s frustration, but I unequivocally disagree with his content and approach.

Strom’s list cited legitimate things that bug the shit out of reporters. Things like “stating this is the ‘first ever thing’ when it most certainly isn’t” and “not answering a direct question for more information with specifics” are just a few of the frustratons cited by Strom.  What Strom didn’t do was pick up the entire PR community by its ankles and throw it under the bus. He identified specific examples of things that make reporters go bananas.

Pitchman, on the other hand, wrote a disrespectful piece that stereotyped all journalists. His aggressive, accusatory tone made my skin crawl. There is nothing constructive in his list:

1. You lack common courtesy

2. Your laziness knows no bounds

3. You work at a crappy trade rag (blog)

4. You don’t play by the rules

5. You’re a stenographer

6. You’re creepy

7. You’re just projecting self-loathing

8. You look a gift horse in the mouth

9. You’re a humorless bully

10. You don’t know your station

The paragraph of content that followed each itemized accusation was beyond insulting and quite frankly juvenile. He did more harm to the PR community than he will ever know. And at the end of the day, he just gave the media another reason to pig pile on us all.

Let’s be honest, stereotyping is flat out wrong. There is no good in any stereotypes. Interestingly, I can’t imagine a single person who has walked the planet who has not been on the receiving end of some unfair stereotype. A few examples include:

  • Irish are drunks
  • Americans are fat
  • Politicians are crooks
  • Gays are pedophiles
  • Jews are cheap
  • Muslims are terrorists
  • Southerners are rednecks
  • Mexicans are illegal
  • French are snobs
  • Men are jerks
  • Women are emotional

Just based on that short list, I am an emotional, fat, drunk pedophile.

We all need to stop stereotyping. When we catch ourselves doing it, we need to acknowledge it and try harder the next time. We need to respectfully call people out on stereotyping when someone around us does it. We need to start spreading the good karma that treats people as individuals and stop lumping groups into negative piles. Think of all the good karma that we could spread by just making this one small adjustment.

What do you think of Strom and/or Pitchman’s content and approach?

Posted by Kel | in Uncategorized | 8 Comments »

8 Comments on “Please Stop Stereotyping”

  1. Thomas Grimshaw Says:

    Too often, we don’t think we are doing it, but it is precisely because we don’t think. One of the interesting things that I have observed lately is a younger generation in a family not putting up with the older generation’s use of stereotypes. It happens in my family and I’m sure in most. It gives me hope that we as people are moving in the right direction though, when the high-school aged person at the holiday dinner table speaks up to an aunt or uncle or cousin and says they won’t tolerate that type of speech.

    Peace.

  2. Meagan Shaffer Says:

    “Your job is to cover our clients news” – really??? Wow, I’d like to live in that world where a journalist’s responsibility is not to their readers to deliver interesting stories, but to PR people! JK, I love the world we live in, but that line gave me a good chuckle! Great post, Kel!

  3. Kel Says:

    tom, that older generation thing happens in my family all the time. my kids are horrified when they hear something. the good news is that i think the younger generation’s dna is more stereotype-free. sometimes older people don’t even know they are doing it because it is the way they were brought up. a simple comment to raise awareness often does the trick.

  4. Kel Says:

    you chuckling is a great visual meagan. it makes me smile.

  5. Deirdre Says:

    Hi Kel,
    I enjoyed your post.
    Based on your description of Pitchman’s post, it would have made my skin crawl too. I, too, do not appreciate stereotypes – and I’m happy to see the younger generations not using them as much as our parents did.
    Although, in this case, there is one stereotype that may summarize Pitchman’s approach:
    Mean People Suck

    Have a nice day :)

  6. Kel Says:

    deirdre, i would agree with that stereotype. mean people do suck.

  7. Jenny Says:

    Hi Kel,

    Thank you so much for your post. I think all to often stereotyping is a daily part of life, whether we realize it or not. It’s sad when these stereotypes cross over into the workplace. I’m currently working at a degree in both Public and Relations and Magazine Journalism and although I didn’t realize this until your post I see way to many “journalism vs. PR” stereotypes. Now that I realize this I fully intend to speak up whenever I see it happening.

  8. Kel Says:

    jenny, that’s an interesting dual focus. i’m sure at time you feel like you are in the middle of a gun fire. by speaking up, you will trigger people to have awareness around their comments. hopefully, that will act as a catalyst for positive change. thanks for taking the time to comment!

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