This week on Inside PR, Terry and David discuss agency vs. client side as an entry point into public relations. They welcome an audio comment from Ed Lee. Also, they play this week’s contribution from Chris Clarke. Finally, Terry does his segment of “Inside PRoper English” with the help of Andrew Findlater.

Show Notes

00:33 David introduces the show. He invites listener feedback through email at [email protected], the comment line at 206-600-4741, or comment on the Inside PR show blog.

01:30 Terry talks about his time at the Podcast and Portable Media Expo in Ontario, California.

06:20 David brings up last week’s Third Tuesday gathering in Toronto and Ottawa.

09:20 David talks about his presentation at Summers Direct Communications Forum in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. He also mentions that he will be presenting at the Canadian Institute’s “Internal & External Communications for Government” and will also spend time talking about the MRP system.

11:35 Terry mentions that this week he will be at the Strategy Magazine Media in Canada forum.

13:00 Ed Lee drops in with an audio comment regarding the agency vs. client side debate.

14:15 Terry starts things off by mentioning that he’s naturally biased. Terry has never worked on the client side of public relations, even though he intended to when he first got into the business.

16:33 David talks about the business of PR here in Canada. He thinks that the size of the team on the agency side in Canada is a big difference compared to the client side. He also mentions that there’s nothing wrong with working for a few years at an agency, because agencies want agency people.

19:05 Terry thinks that, in general, working on the client side will mean fighting for resources against a larger number of employees. People you work with will not always embrace public relations.

20:30 David appreciates working with people who “get” PR, especially after working on the client side.

22:29 Terry dispells another myth: in-house PR might pay more at the start, but a few years later the agency person will likely surpass the agency person. There are generally more opportunities for advancement in agencies than on the client side.

26:37 David talks about his time working on the client side at Molson’s.

28:29 Terry talks about agencies being more relaxed in atmosphere, and that in-house PR is generally not cushy.

31:48 David introduces and plays Chris Clarke‘s segment for the week.

34:28 Inside PRoper English for the week, with the help of Andrew Findlater: “flesh out” and “flush out.”

37:20 David talks about someone who he and Terry worked with who mixed and mashed their cliches.

39:22 Terry closes the show and invites listener comments: through email at [email protected], on the comment line at 206-600-4741, or comment on the Inside PR show blog. Also, they welcomes listeners to the Inside PR Blubrry site.

Music: our theme music is Streetwalker by CJacks, and is from the Podsafe Music Network; Roger Dey is our announcer.


  1. Tchaikovsky’s 1812 overture happened to come up on my playlist whilst listening to Findlater’s comment. It added a strange grandiose feel to it.

    I guess it’s appropriate. Canadian podcast, visions of the White House burning while a westerner American listens.

    Cliches aplenty. You say cliche, I say useful idiom. Potato, tomato.

    And the rest is…as they say, when in Rome.

    One of my favorite misused cliches is “behind the eight ball.” It’s, of course, a reference to billiards, a game I grew up with as my family had a pool table in the living room. Behind the eight ball never means “late,” as many like to use it. It means “stuck” or in a bad situation. Being behind the eight ball in billiards is a bad thing, but it has nothing to do with time.

    Thank you for using the word malapropism. I feel less nerdy for knowing it myself. Another of my favorites is “solecism,” which is somewhat related.

    Thanks for your comments on the agency/in-house debate. I lean more toward agency because I like the variety. I’m somewhat working part time for two agencies right now. Both have a variety of clients. One I get to work with a large team of PR students, the other has a PR team that comprises just me. It’s an interesting mix, but I think I would get bored working on the same product all the time.

    I heard an interesting conversation from Alex Pullin over at “The Wages of Spin,” who is now working for Lewis PR in Great Britain. It was about whether or not PR professionals should write wiki entries or post entries to Digg and other open-source tools. Constantin Basturea made a point that he would like to see a code (like a code of ethics) for PR practitioners to follow.

    Care to comment?

  2. Great conversation about agency vs. in-house! Students often agonize about which direction represents the ‘right’ decision. Ah, if it were only that simple.

    Even with your declared bias upfront for out-house PR (wouldn’t that be the opposite of in-house?), you tackled the pros and cons of each environment realistically. Your thoughts on the subject were pragmatic and very welcome.

    I did want to add that some the agency advantages cited would apply just as well to the corporate side. In-house practitioners who are unable to advance their careers in their organizations simply move to a new organization and a new challenge.

    And I’m not so sure entry-level communicators at agencies have a greater degree of immunity from losing their jobs to a downturn (translation: ‘we just lost our biggest client’) — particularly in small agencies.

    Again, great stuff. Thanks. I’ll be directing students to Inside PR to hear your thoughts.

    P.S. Enjoyed meeting Shel Israel at Third Tuesdays — a great initiative.

  3. Gary, thanks for checking out the ‘cast. I never meant to suggest that you were less likely to lose your job if you work agency-side. I believe it’s easier to find an agency job if you have past agency experience.

    We’ll be watching and listening for your students comments on Inside PR.

  4. Terry Author

    Thanks, as always, for your comment Owen. I like the idea of a code of ethics or code of conduct that might be endorsed and honoured by PR professionals. In fact, the Canadian Public Relations Society does have a Code of Professional Standards (http://www.cprs.ca/AboutCPRS/e_code.htm) you might like to review.

  5. As a PR student, I definately found this interesting.
    But you guys made a much stronger case for agency work, and I will probably investigate this option further in a years time.

  6. Omar,

    Please don’t take our word for it. Terry and I are biased…clearly. When you finally make your decision, keep an open mind and find an opportunity that will let you learn, grow and develop new skills working with some great people. That’s as likely to be agency, corporate, or even the government.


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