I’d been calling for a publication for CIPR members ever since we lost our free subscription to PR Week, so I was quick to welcome the arrival of Influence magazine last week.
I chose not to pay for PR Week because I no longer wanted to read a trade publication. Yet there’s clearly a gap in the market for a professional publication.
So what has Influence done well – and where can it develop in future editions?
- Editorial independence from the CIPR. We need a professional journal, not a house journal.
- Strong production values. It’s well designed and well illustrated. The photoshopped images in the devolution article are superb.
- Strong content overall in the launch edition.
- It lacks personality. Most of the articles are exercises in even-handed journalism. I’d welcome more opinion (along the lines of the George Pitcher piece in the launch edition). Who’d like to brief us on the lobbying register? Or on the new Barcelona Declarations on measurement and evaluation?
- Where are the people? A profession includes people at all stages of life. So where are the obituaries? Where the profiles of those who’d received New Year’s honours (eg Sandy Lindsay MBE)? Where the lists of those awarded pass, merit and distinction in professional qualifications? Where the accounts of who the CIPR’s benevolent fund has helped? Where’s some insight into the growing number of PR apprentices (some as young as 17). Give us the whole profession, from cradle to grave.
- Where is education and training? There’s a focus on CPD, but still no book reviews, or digests of conference keynotes, or developments in research and education. One Saturday last November, PR Academy ran six simultaneous training sessions in one London venue. That’s a lot of education for a lot of committed and ambitious practitioners. It may seem marginal to the day job – but it’s an essential pillar of the professional project. This magazine could be the perfect space to blend academic and practitioner insights.