21 things that defined PR agency life before the web (you won’t believe no #5)

21 things that defined PR agency life before the web (you won’t believe no #5)

Public relations in an agency is unrecognisable from 25 years ago.

It started, as these things often do, as a conversation on Twitter.

I posted a list of activities that we used to undertake as part of our day job when I started out working in public relations in 1993.

It’s turned into a nostalgic trip down memory lane for a lot of people in my network. Thanks to everyone who jumped into the conversation.

25 years ago workflow in an agency was defined by media relations. Activity was focused on earned and owned media.

The first agency that I worked for was A Plus in Slough, UK. It subsequently became Brodeur, then Pleon, and latterly Ketchum. What goes around comes around.

The internet was in its infancy. If you had internet access it was via a dial-up modem for email or an online service. WordPerfect 5.1 was the state of the art word processor.

Here’s another 21 things that defined PR agency life in the early nineties.

  1. Media and journalist directories: Guardian Media Guide, Pims monthly UK directory, and Hollis

  2. Calling journalists, and receiving inbound calls. The phone has become an underused tool

  3. Double spaced press releases for edits and notes

  4. Printing at a dedicated workstation from disk, documents shared via hard copy

  5. Sharing a dial-up modem and email address between the whole office

  6. Photocopying, posting and faxing press releases

  7. Printing and collating press kits for an event

  8. An embargo was an embargo

  9. Biking or couriering images, transparencies and video

  10. Arranging meetings at exact time and place

  11. Cutting out, copying and spray mounting press coverage

  12. Physically measuring column inches with a ruler

  13. The anxiety of waiting for photos to be developed in a darkroom, or using a repro shop

  14. Dictating documents by phone or face-to-face

  15. Viewing transparencies on a lightbox and physically retouching

  16. Choosing a photos from a contact sheet and ordering printed copies

  17. Microfiche machines for researching newspaper archives

  18. Cutting and splicing audio interviews

  19. Transferring artwork to a printer by ISDN and hoping the line didn’t drop

  20. Correcting mistakes on printed documents using Tippex

  21. Lunches that lasted until the end of the working day and beyond

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