A seasonal salute from Larry Ragan

Teary sentiments of joy, thanksgiving and forgiveness to organizational communicators.

Editor’s note: Larry Ragan wrote this column 30 years ago as his annual holiday salute to readers of The Ragan Report. A few changes here and there, and this column could have been written yesterday. What does that say about our industry? You tell us.

Once again we greet you with our annual message: To all a happy holiday and a new year of higher budgets, fewer typos, and an understanding management. With teary sentiments of cheer we salute ….

Editors whose Christmas greetings arrive before Christmas. Writers of news releases—may their words be read and, even better, believed.

Compilers of annual reports: May their pictures be ever larger, their color brighter, and their prose even funnier than last year’s. Public information people who write Christmas messages every year for the top executive in their organization: They have suffered the platitude.

Editors who must edit stories written by school district superintendents: They also serve.

Editors who have the guts to use an ungrammatical “they” to avoid a “he.” They shall be forgiven.

Editors who refuse to listen to what they hear at conferences: They proudly display pictures of Joe and his fish. They shall be punished.

Editors who have come to grips with the grip-and-grin picture.

Teachers who direct a school’s communication program in their off hours.

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Conference speakers who refuse to tell us that we are entering a new era…or that—at last—we are embarking upon professionalism…or that the only thing that is constant is change itself … or that we must overcome the challenges (because they represent new opportunities) … or that video is the wave of the future … or that what public relations needs is a definition of what public relations is … or that the future brings us undreamed of power in developing communication technologies.

Education writers who would sooner cut off their typing fingers than use the word “prioritize.” (They think it trivializes their stuff.)

Editors of organizational publications who refuse to carry stories that say profit is not a dirty word. Photographers who ask us to say Schlitz.

School communication people who conduct Q&A interviews with the superintendent and write the answers as well as the questions.

Consultants and others who prefer to criticize a publication rather than critique it.

Writers who fight the creeping “EEness” of our language and insist upon saying that at workshops there are presenters and attenders. And to all—writers, editors, designers, photographers, academics and consultants everywhere … God bless us, every one.


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