Thursday, June 4, 2009

Some PR people are like star-belly Sneetches

the sneetchesImage by badjonni via Flickr
Having kids allows me to stay current on some great new children's books as well as going back into the vault for wonderful stories I recall reading as a child.

During a recent evening story-time, I ran across a book that to my surprise reminded me of PR people who argue for/against accreditation: The Sneetches by Dr. Seuss. 

For those unfamiliar with the story, it starts off explaining that the absence of a "star" is the basis for discrimination in the Sneetch world.
Now, the Star-Belly Sneetches had bellies with stars. The Plain-Belly Sneetches had none upon thars. Those stars weren't so big. They were really so small, you might think such a thing wouldn't matter at all. But, because they had stars, all the Star-Belly Sneetches would brag, "We're the best kind of Sneetch on the beaches." With their snoots in the air, they would sniff and they'd snort, "We'll have nothing to do with the Plain-Belly sort!" And whenever they met some, when they were out walking, they'd hike right on past them without even talking. 
Now I don't seriously think there is this kind of deep discrimination between PR people with and without APR. In fact, I believe those who are Accredited in Public Relations (APR,) unlike the star-belly Sneetches, are willing to assist others in the field. However, some PR people can act like star-belly Sneetches by bickering over who are better at doing PR, those with versus those without accreditation.

(Disclaimer: I am not an APR professional, but I have decided to take steps toward earning accreditation in the near future.)

Agressively arguing over whether or not a PR person should be an APR is pretty dumb.

Accredited PR professionals will think being accredited is worthwhile. Non-accredited PR professionals (having no interest in it) will probably think it's pointless and/or question its value. While those of us who are considering it or already on the way are stuck in the middle.

What is APR?
I am looking forward to the experience of getting accredited. What I like about APR is the professional development notion best explained via the PRSA Web site:
APR is a mark of distinction for public relations professionals who demonstrate their commitment to the profession and to its ethical practice, and who are selected based on broad knowledge, strategic perspective, and sound professional judgment.
Can a PR professional be committed to his/her profession and ethics, plus have broad knowledge, strategic perspective, and display sound judgement all without having "APR" after their names? You bet.

Then why get the APR?
So then it begs the question, why get the APR? I think fellow professional communicator, Lauren Vargas, puts it best:
Why get the APR? The study process for the APR is a wonderful way for me to go back to my communication roots, discover why I chose this field and evaluate how I have practiced and put theory into practice. I am reestablishing my passion for public relations. The acronym on the signature block means nothing without the drive and results.
Translation: there is individual value in the accreditation process.

And the Sneetches?
The day they decided that Sneetches are Sneetches and no kind of Sneetch is the best on the beaches. That day, all the Sneetches forgot about stars and whether they had one, or not, upon thars.
By the way, if you are interested in APR or ABC accreditation, join the Twitter #accredchat on Friday, June 5 at 1:00 pm  ET. Hopefully this will become a weekly chat over this worthwhile PR topic. Also, Kami Huyse, APR has some tips on getting the most out of Twitter chats.
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