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End of Civilization?

My fiancée sent me a link to an online story at almost the same time I was considering sending her the same link (we are, clearly, simpatico!) regarding a NASA study ( that concludes that…well, we’re all (bleeped).
The study, sponsored by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, asserts we only have a “few decades left” before overstretched economic and ecological resources send us back to the Stone Age, and not a good Stone Age like we experienced as kids with the Flintstones.
It made me think…what would the world be like without public relations? Might the death of PR also bring about the end of civilization as we know it (and I don’t feel fine; nod to R.E.M. BTW).
First, research indicates that, on the low end, 50% of stories we read in newspapers and other media outlets, were generated through public relations. With media outlets already increasing strapped financially since the rise of the internet, if PR goes away, traditional media loses its number one connection for sources, expertise, interviews and information.
No PR, no news.
Public relations is also the chief tool for reaching audiences with information about products and services, as well as important causes, from saving the rain forests to political platforms. Would everything have to be done by advertising? Imagine the costs. A full page ad in a magazine or a TV commercial can costs thousands and thousands of dollars. A news story placed with the help of a PR pro costs NOTHING, and has tons more credibility.
Everytime a company has a crisis…there are layoffs to announce, toxic spills in a river, something big exploded that shouldn’t have exploded, some big name married athlete gets caught with drugs/alcohol/someone he/she isn’t married to, well, who ya gonna call? Sorry, there’s no one in the PR office to help because PR is GONE. No more PR. Sorry Mr. CEO, Mr. Big League Club Owner, you’re going to have to field those media calls YOURSELF.
The late science fiction author and humorist Douglas Adams explored this issue in his “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” series. When a planet’s inhabitants decided to do away with all the “middle men,” i.e the hair stylists, telephone sanitizers and PR and advertising executives, shipping them off-planet via space ark with a fake story about impending global doom, the irony was soon visited upon the remaining population (the thinks, creators and the poets and dreamers) when they were struck down by a virus contracted from a dirty telephone. No PR people to spread the word about the disease.
People scoff at PR, think it’s all about “spin” and “covering up” – it isn’t, that’s an insulting stereotype – but if PR were to suddenly disappear, the world we all have come to embrace filled with movies teeming with product placements, celebrity interviews on morning talk shows, etc., would all come to a grinding HALT.
We need PR. Public relations helps individuals and organizations make connections that are to the benefit of said individuals and organizations AND the people that they serve. PR is the glue that holds us together. Without PR, it all falls apart.
So, let’s hope the “elites” as the NASA study calls them, get their collective bleep together, figure out a way to stop wasting resources and instead achieve BALANCE so that our civilization can limp along for at least a few more centuries. And how are we going to communicate with those in power, how are we going to reach the elites, how are we going to make all of this happen?
Through PR, of course.

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