pr-agent "= "flack"?

< Previous | Next >

katty20

New Member
Mexican Spanish
Hello,
how common is it to call a pr-agent "a flack"? Is there any other informal term for press secretaries, agents and others working in pr-field?
Thank you.
 
  • JustKate

    Senior Member
    You need to know that "flack" has been traditionally used as a derogatory term, and it still is used that way at times. Those of us who work in the PR field do indeed use it informally about ourselves and our PR brethren (it's used as a noun and as a verb, as in "Are you still flacking for the university?"), but when we are using it about people we like and respect, we're saying it jokingly. When we are using it in reference to those of our colleagues who we do not respect, it's an insult. It might be difficult for a non-native speaker, or someone who doesn't work in this field, to make these distinctions clear.
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    As someone not in the PR field, I have to say I'm not familiar with it (though I could probably figure it out from context - a hack journalist, a quack doctor, a flack PR-person :)). According to Merriam-Webster and etymonline, this is slang from the 1940's which (judging by Kate's post) is still in use in the industry.
     

    ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    Welcome to the forum, Katty:)

    Never heard of it:(

    The informal and derogatory term for people who 'handle' or 'manage' the news about top-flight politicians is spin doctor.
     

    JustKate

    Senior Member
    Welcome to the forum, Katty:)

    Never heard of it:(

    The informal and derogatory term for people who 'handle' or 'manage' the news about top-flight politicians is spin doctor.
    Spin doctor (a.k.a. spinmeister) isn't used generally for people in the PR field. It's used specifically for people who are skilled at writing or saying things in such a way that it does the most good for their cause. That is, it refers to a specific task within public relations. It is usually intended to be derogatory too, but like flack, it can be used in an admiring way about a colleague who is considered to be particularly skilled in this area. My boss, for example, is very good at spinning, and I intend that as a compliment. (Well, most of the time. :))
     

    Egmont

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    I'm familiar with the term, but I'd only use it if (a) I wanted to insult someone or (b) I wanted to be humorous and was also certain that the other person would know this.
     

    Alby84

    Senior Member
    American English
    You need to know that "flack" has been traditionally used as a derogatory term, and it still is used that way at times. Those of us who work in the PR field do indeed use it informally about ourselves and our PR brethren (it's used as a noun and as a verb, as in "Are you still flacking for the university?"), but when we are using it about people we like and respect, we're saying it jokingly. When we are using it in reference to those of our colleagues who we do not respect, it's an insult. It might be difficult for a non-native speaker, or someone who doesn't work in this field, to make these distinctions clear.
    I've never heard of it either, but every field has its own slang of sorts. I'd go with what Kate says or perhaps ask in the special terminology forum. No idea how many PR people we have on WR, though...
     

    ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    Spin doctor (a.k.a. spinmeister) isn't used generally for people in the PR field.
    That's why I specified 'news about top-flight politicians', JK:) As far as I'm aware, in the UK it's used pretty much exclusively people who are, effectively, politicians' press agents. (They often have pretty official titles such as Director of Communications:rolleyes:)
     

    sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    Hello,
    how common is it to call a pr-agent "a flack"? Is there any other informal term for press secretaries, agents and others working in pr-field?
    Thank you.
    Welcome to the forum, katty

    It all depends to whom you are talking. We in the news business used it regularly, sometimes affectionately, sometimes pejoratively, depending upon the nature of the person involved and the degree of cooperation or annoyance we received from them.
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top