Public relations excellence, professionalism and modernisation in Newcastle

Public relations excellence, professionalism and modernisation in Newcastle

newcastle This is the transcript of a short speech that I gave at the CIPR North East PRide awards at the Biscuit Factory in Newcastle tonight. As with all my speeches it’s what I intended to say rather than what I actually said.

Hello. Good evening. My name’s Stephen Waddington.

It’s good to be here at PRide in the north east, really good. In fact let’s have a big vote of thanks please to Chris Taylor and the CIPR’s North East committee; Catherine Morgan and Kirstie Lundgaard in the CIPR’s events team; and the crew at Redbrand.

Commitment to professionalism

I hope that this year will be characterised as a period when the CIPR reasserted its commitment to professionalism as set out by the founders in 1948, and committed to statute through its Charter in 2005.

That vision is very simply to promote professionalism in public relations for practitioners, and - here's the bit we often miss - in the public interest.

Professionalism is a barrier to entry in the form of foundation knowledge, a Code of Conduct that can be publically tested, continuing professional development, qualifications and a healthy exchange between academia and practice.

Professionalism is not accepting the lack of diversity - look around you, we're mainly white and middle class - or the gender pay gap across the profession of £12,000. As my eldest daughter said, "Dad that's plainly nonsense."

Professionalism is having a job that is understood and respected by your daughter.

I'd urge you to join the CIPR if you haven’t already, and start your own journey to professionalism. Your profession needs you.


This year has been a tough year for the business of public relations. It’s been a bit like 2013, and 2012, and 2011 for that matter. 2010 was hard work as well.

The modernisation of practice is a huge opportunity but it means fundamental structural change to the models of the agencies and organisations for which we work.

New forms of media are enabling us to deliver incredible value to organisations. We’re shifting from publicity, to influencer relations, community management and social business.

In 2014 public relations has a role not just within communications but within every area of a modern organisation from customer service to sales, and human resources to operations.

It is the eyes, ears, and conscience of an organisation and is increasingly represented at the highest levels.

It's hard work but there has never been such an exciting time to work in our business.

Celebrating excellence in the north east

The north east has an incredible energy at the moment.

The Northern Correspondent published an article last month that suggested that a big chunk of the future of media and the creative industries was being reinvented here.

The Northern Design Centre in Gateshead; Campus North and Hoult’s Yard both in Newcastle; DigitalCity in Teesside; and Sunderland Software City, are all hotspots.

It was an incredibly well-researched article and a great piece of writing. And yes I’m biased. I wrote it.

Our agencies, councils, colleges and universities, hospitals, transport operators, and businesses are pioneers in citizen engagement using both traditional and new forms of media.

I’d like to take a moment personally to recognise a pioneer from the region that has been at the forefront of our business nationally this year.

I was pleased to award Sarah Hall the Sir Stephen Tallents Medal this year for her contribution over an incredible ten years to the CIPR locally and nationally.

Throughout this year she’s provided wise counsel, corporate memory and led the CIPR’s campaigning and policy on both flexible working and gender diversity. Thank you Sarah.

The PRide awards provide the opportunity to showcase and celebrate the work of local practitioners in the last 12-months.

Let’s celebrate tonight and enjoy the here and now but let’s also look to the future; let’s look to professionalism and modernity, to 2015 and beyond.

Have a great evening and thanks for having me.

"Working class candidates need not apply" by John Brown

"Working class candidates need not apply" by John Brown

Reasons to be optimistic about the future of public relations

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