PR Next

Monthly eZine for PR Professionals

Interview with Arcopol Chaudhuri

Posted by prnext on July 20, 2009

Poornima Iyer brings to us, an exclusive interview with Arcopol Chaudhuri, an ex-journo,
who recently switched over to PR, shares is experience with the PR industry, while he was
on the other side of the table and what he expects when he has decided to change roles

Poornima Iyer brings to us, an exclusive interview with Arcopol Chaudhuri, an ex-journo,  who recently switched over to PR, shares is experience with the PR industry, while he was on the other side of the table and what he expects when he has decided to change roles

1. What was your perception about PR (industry & professionals) during your tenure as a journalist?

I started off in journalism thinking PR folks are partners in the news business. I’d reply to press releases with a ‘Thank you’. But as soon as I joined DNA, from partners most of them turned into annoying pests. Maybe because I cover business news, people were too pushy about their clients. Eventually, I found a balance in my understanding of them and made some great friends, came across awesome pitch notes and some neatly done media interactions. So my perception is, that the PR industry has merit. But only some. What’s spoiling the show is all these consultancies sprouting from every corner, who have absolutely no idea what to do with their clients, have no sense of strategy, and expect any random coverage to be equivalent to PR. Get a life!

2. Why the decision to move over to PR? does this decision bring about any change in your perception towards PR as an industry and the professionals?

1. It was never a decision to move into PR. It was more a decision to join Lintas. And it was the inclination to work on a certain clients I’d wanted to work on, for a long time.

2. My perception about PR changed slowly. We’re in interesting times, wherein information – malicious or not – is being withheld by companies in the pretext of corporate communications/PR. Therefore, its a powerful profession, wherein PR literally gets to play God, unless of course, media stumbles upon the news itself. But sure, PR makes a difference to brands in the most credible way possible, and I want to be a part of the process.

3. Any apprehensions / anxieties that you would like to share

I’ve been told that the first 2 months will be difficult settling in. I’m prepared for it. I have faith and immense respect for the organization I’m joining. My aim will be to make myself as useful as possible to the team in the shortest possible time, and improvise myself over a sustained duration.

4. What are your expectations from the new job that you look forward to take up?

I expect it to be challenging. Journalism is much more of a one-man show (at least print journalism is). PR is a thankless job, involves team-work, tests our people skills, reasoning and negotiation abilities. I expect the new job to show me how good/bad I am at all this, and help me get better.

5. Journalism must have given you a sense of freedom (getting to be expressive & critical) which PR professionals seldom get to be, how do you plan to cope with this loss of freedom to express.

I never entered journalism to be expressive / critical. So there’s no loss of freedom to express. As journalists, we’re expected to report in a fair manner. But all that’s changing now. And most business journalists would agree. The recession has blurred all lines between editorial, ad sales and marketing divisions in a newspaper. You’d be a fool to believe everything written in a newspaper today as fair reporting. Competition is driving editors crazy. I wouldn’t have wanted to be part of such propaganda while wearing the shoes of a journalist. Not what I’d set out for.

6. What are the changes you would want to bring about in the way PR agencies / advisories work? Would you make an effort to ensure that these are implemented in your new work place?

If PR firms are really serious about their clients, they’d better invest in training the folks on the account suitably. Most of the times, the person calling has zilch knowledge about the sector his client operates in, about what beats the journo covers. Account executives must read, read, read as much as they can.

Also media rounds are useless, if you don’t have an agenda. Journos want to meet PR folks waiting at the reception only if they have 1-2 story ideas to discuss. Why come all the way, just to ask, “What stories are you working on?” “Ohh…you’ve become thin!” “What’s your sun-sign?” “Kuch kar do yaar..! Client sar pe baitha hai.” I believe PR folks should restrain themselves from such things and talk sense when they are taking some journalist’s valuable time.


2 Responses to “Interview with Arcopol Chaudhuri”

  1. Aarif Malik said

    That’s a man with a very balanced approach. I really liked his views. But it seems that he’s a bit disillusioned with journalism. But that’s okay.. our gain, eh? 🙂

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