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. )
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...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.
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)Spin doctor (a.k.a. spinmeister) isn't used generally for people in the PR field.
Welcome to the forum, kattyHello,
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?