“WE’RE coming through. Pin your ears back for a proper PR professional. Honestly, sweetie, some of these plebs don’t know their Lacroix from their hair lacquer.”

Another grand entrance by ‘PR professional’ Edina ‘Eddy’ Monsoon to another major fashion launch, aided and abetted by her friend and occasional writer Patsy Stone on the trail of Bolly, celebrities and recreational substances.

Is this really the world of public relations, a seemingly endless round of “Absolutely Fabulous” events where the main aim is to get plastered and bedded by someone almost famous.

Of course not. Public relations is a singularly honourable profession, worlds away from the false picture painted by “Ab Fab” of glamorous media bashes and long, boozy lunches.

But then I would say that having recently gone over to the other side after a lifetime in journalism both as an editor and writer. Journalists moving into PR were often described as ‘poacher turned gamekeeper’ meaning a direct switch of roles, in this case evading the questions after a previous life of asking them. Extreme examples would be the ex-bank robber earning a living advising the banks on security.

Public relations practitioners were in the early days kept at arm’s length and even now the world weary foot soldiers populating shrinking newsrooms across the land are wary of what they call a “puff piece”  dropping in their lap though some well-written instant copy is a Godsend  with columns to fill and websites to service.

Today’s public relations professional does much more than sit behind a desk faxing out press releases. More than ever, he’s the public face of the client using the variety of social media tools now to hand.. He may be seeking a higher profile for his business making sure it gets the prime position in the shop window. He may be seeking funding to take his business to the next level and here it is the PR pro who can oil the wheels by bringing together developer and investor.

Effective PR is a crucial part of any private or public undertaking where image and opinion can so often mean the difference between success and failure …

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