PR In Progress


Thoughts on Public Relations, Communications, Social Media, Sports and anything else in my life…

Is Spin Really Bad?

Whether you are a seasoned practitioner or a student currently studying public relations, chances are you have some opinion on spin.

This past Monday, Penelope Trunk, author of Brazen Careerist: The New Rules for Success, gave a speech at the 2008 PRSSA National Conference in Detroit in which she referenced spin. I cannot remember her exact quote, but it was along the lines of spin being at tool that all practitioners should know how to use.

Penelope Trunk never once said that spin was the tool of choice of pr practitioners, nor did she even allude to using it improperly. She just explained that at some point in a PR practitioner’s career, they will use spin.

What do you think? Do you agree?

To me, her statement echoed a couple of things I’ve heard and believe. The first being you shouldn’t surround yourself with people who only tell you things you want to hear. You need that difference of opinion to shed light on different ideas and to foster discussion. (There was an uncomfortable exchange between Penelope Trunk and the host of the event which triggered countless discussions of spin.)

The other thing I’ve come to realize is that spin isn’t necessarily bad. Spin can mean shedding light on good efforts during a bad situation. You don’t always have to think of spin as hiding the bad. It is possible to deal with bad situations without creating some sort of “cover-up.”

I’ve been taught that spin is bad. Don’t sping things, blah blah blah. But why? Why wouldn’t you use spin when the weather is right? It’s about time that people start thinking outside the box and seek out cases where spin was used positively. (This is like case study books–there are never failed cases in those textbooks. How about showing spin in a different light?)

I completely agree with Penelope Trunk. PR practitioners will use some form of spin during their career. It is up to them to decide how they will use it and to abide by the ethics of the profession.


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