Digital technology and social media is constantly changing the communications landscape and we’re always looking to the future. The number of books published on how the world is evolving (and how we all need to catch up) could probably fill the British Library, never mind the expansive memory of a PR’s Kindle. But now we’re about to find out about PR’s past – with the likelihood of some interesting insights along the way. Roy Greenslade blogged today regarding a new book to be published next week about the man credited with inventing PR. All of the consumer and B2B PR agencies in Manchester will be delighted to learn that it all started right here!
Sir Basil Clarke, born in Altrincham, Cheshire, in 1879, was subeditor of the Manchester Guardian and then the grandly-titled Special Commissioner for the North of England for the Daily Mail. Various media roles and wartime service later, he refocused on propaganda work for the Government against the IRA. With think that political parties’ obsession with image and spin is a fairly recently development. It turns out that the Government was PR’s first client, nearly 100 years ago. Clarke also established Britain’s first PR agency – Editorial Services – which Greenslade says “earned him the sobriquet of the father of public relations in the UK.”
Today we see many journalists transfer from their original career choice into PR and communication but its surprising to learn that the PR industry was actually created by someone who sounded like a very senior and influential journalist. Or, considering the two professions have ‘worked together’ for 100 years, perhaps its not that surprising at all.