Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Bylines, another reason people don't trust PR folks

Reading this NY Times article about doctors who put their names on bylines penned by drug companies reminded me of how few people outside of PR are aware that bylines are a tool of the trade. Outside of the public relations and marketing circles, most people assume the name on the byline is the article's author, which is exactly what everyone on the dark side wants them to think. And, we are comfortable perpetuating that deception

Is it any wonder that PR people aren't honored as pillars of integrity?


Anonymous said...

I am not sure I see your point on beating down PR when it comes to bylines. A PR person may write the words to the article but the author generally reviews and/or edits the article before it goes to print. Therefore, the PR person is only reflecting the opinion of the author who may not have the time to write the byline or not be a good writer in general.

Anonymous said...

Editors have always had the option to change a writer's story beyond recognition. And the writer rarely balks when he or she gets the credit and payment. Similarly, the PR written article is just an extention of the WRITER's deception.

Tony Loftis said...

I guess my point is that most people on the outside believe bylines are written by the name on the article and are surprised to find out that is not always the case.

The name on the byline carries a reputation, which is why we ghost write bylines and affix the names of important people. A good name give more weight to an idea or article, but that doesn't make it less deceitful.

It's like forging a painting. The forger may have painted a masterpiece under the watchful eye of a master, but we would be shocked if the master then signed his name to the forged painting.

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