The Public Relations Institute of Australia (PRIA), a PR industry body, has narrowly avoided a publicity nightmare after removing a request for an event photographer to work for free at its NSW Golden Target Awards.
Despite PRIA boasting to ‘promote high ethical standards in the public relations and communication industry’, the not-profit organisation attempted to side-step hiring a professional event photographer. Rather than paying money for the photographer’s time, it would provide ‘lead generation’ from the audience, and dinner.
‘As a not-profit organisation,we are looking an an eager photographer who is willing to work pro-bono with dinner provided. Point to note: the lead generation from audience attending (all PR/comms agencies with clients) will be worth every picture taken, not to mention using the event to boost your own promotional portfolio.’
There is certainly no shortage of PR agencies, which are paid handsomely to churn out fluffy press releases and ‘reach out’ or ‘engage’ various stakeholders. So it’s hard to imagine PRIA can’t lash out on a photographer for the PR industry’s longest-running and most prestigious awards. Especially when considering it hired out 12-Micron’s Watermans Room – an ‘exquisite function space’ with complete glass frontage, and a private balcony overlooking the Sydney Harbour. Ou la la!
MumBrella, a media and marketing industry publication, asked the PRIA why an industry body, which advocates for best practice and professionalism, would request someone work for free. The PRIA, perhaps anticipating the fall out from bad publicity, went into ‘damage control’ mode and pulled the post, telling MumBrella it would revert to its ‘ normal policy of engagement and full payment for all external support services’.
‘PRIA acknowledged it had not thought the post all the way through, and noted it has “led the industry on this policy to ensure that all employees (freelance, services providers and staff) are paid their full wage or service fee as per market expectation”.’