Public Relations industry bible, PR Week, has a story about the level of contact special advisers have with national newspapers. Specifically it talks about the number of times SpAds have been lunched or received some other form of hospitality. See the full story here.
PR Week 'reveals' that the Daily Mail has a bigger budget than its rivals so has taken out more SpAds than anyone else. Hardly Watergate is it? It's worth reading a rather baffling spin-off article outlining how 'Labour aides speak out against special advisers being wined and dined by journalists'.
PR Week's article basically takes the view that SpAds shouldn't be talking to journalists; that somehow this is a slightly dubious practice. They obviously spoke to the right former Labour SpAds to make this work. I wish they had spoken to other ex-SpAds who take the view that meeting with journalists is an essential part of looking after your bosses back.
It's interesting that, if you talk to journalists on the big national or regional titles, and ask who in Government is performing well, their list of top performers will match almost perfectly with those SpAds who are getting out there; fighting their bosses corner with the media and other key opinion formers. It's what SpAds are paid for.
Special Advisers are Minister's early warning system, their eyes and ears, as well as the driver of and communicator for policy and direction of travel. In the PR industry its called reputation management. I thought PR Week would understand this.