Bert Gunn’s conversion to public relations

CIPR President Stephen Waddington
CIPR President Stephen Waddington

I really enjoyed reading the transcript today of CIPR President Stephen Waddington’s recent excellent speech to the International History of Public Relations Conference about the history of the CIPR.

One thing that stood out was a quote about public relations from Bert Gunn, who was editor of the Evening Standard between 1945 and 1952.

Gunn said:“[They] are an obstacle to the journalistic profession. I hate them. If I had my way I would do away with the lot.”

Stephen used it to illustrate the point that the kind of hostility shown towards public relations in Robert Peston’s recent high high profile speech has been there pretty much since the beginning.

I’d never heard this quote before, but it’s a good one.

And I found it interesting because of what Gunn did after leaving the Standard. That’s right – he entered public relations, as the managing director of Editorial Services Ltd, the PR agency Basil Clarke founded in 1924.

So who knows, maybe one day we will see Robert Peston join our ranks…