Defending the indefinable: Richard Bailey is right to draw attention to the fascinating joust between CIPR leadership hopefuls Jon White and Stephen Waddington, two strong candidates whose contrasting views help propel debate over the future of public relations.
Although I don't think I have ever told students that "Public Relations can't be defined," I would have to plead guilty to giving the impression that a. doing so convincingly is pretty hard and b. I am still not sure myself. (Whilst seen as a weakness in may areas of life, this sort of indecision carries some virtue in academia - we prefer to call it critical reflection).
I read the vibrant LinkedIn exchange between Jon and Stephen just after noting this observation from former Burson Marsteller big gun Robert Leaf's PR memoir, The Art of Perception:
Whilst it may not answer questions about the future of PR its many layers of ambiguity do help to highlight some of the problems encountered by those trying to understand the nature of ethical practice within the discipline.
No matter what you call it, its role is still the same: to convince key audiences that the messages that are being delivered are completely true, and that it is to their benefit to react to them accordingly.