Friday, June 09, 2006

Where PR Shines 

This story describing the scientific battle over fish consumption and mercury levels is where PR is practiced at its best. For one, there is not yet proof that any level of mercury consumption is injurious to fetal health. (Whole societies have depended on fish for many centuries.) Secondly, there is proof some level of mercury consumption is dangerous to fetal development. Third, it is apparently a modern problem exacerbated by air discharges from coal-fired plants.

Industries hang in the balance of the battle. Science may someday define a precise level of fish and mercury consumption. Meanwhile, each side marshals studies against the other to score points, and public relations is an essential part of the mix.

One could call this "spin" and not PR, but that would be incorrect. Because there is no proof, the fish industry has a right to defend itself against those who would shut it down. On the other hand, those worried about mercury have an equal right to highlight potential harm.

One can argue that the effect of the PR battle is to confuse the public and not build relationships. That is true, but on the other hand, the battle is informing the public of the two sides of the issue and providing information for citizens to decide for themselves.

I will be watching the outcome with interest. Meanwhile, I enjoy grilled salmon.


Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?