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2022-01-21 00:00:00 Avenue Magazine The Definitive Translation for PR Speak

The Definitive Translation for PR Speak

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Public relations is storytelling — in the glossiest, truthiest kind of way. Sometimes it requires imagination or something shiny to confuse you, maybe a candy-coated interpretation from time to time, and always with a wink and nod. Publicists speak in code; understanding how the wheels of media churn requires knowing what the fuck we’re saying.

What official statements really mean:

  • “Left to pursue other opportunities” = Fired
  • “We don’t comment on personnel matters” = Suing company
  • “We wish her well in all her future endeavors” = Girl, bye
  • “We encourage all our employees to speak out and share their experiences” = And then sue them for violating their NDAs
  • “We have resolved this matter to mutual satisfaction” = Paid a shit load of money to make it go away
  • “That is so out of character for the man we know him to be” = We hoped the hooker thing was just a phase
  • “We will be pursuing all our options” = The jury voted against us
  • “We’re going in a different direction” = The CEO was just fired
  • “She’s pursuing ‘strategic’ endeavors” = Was smart enough to add the word “strategic”
  • “He’s spending more time with his family” = Administrative leave while we investigate hotel expenses for his mistress
  • “While we haven’t been perfect…” = Everything we say next is a lie
  • “We’re cooperating with authorities” = Through our 20 law firms we pay to not cooperate
  • “We’re going to be fully transparent through this investigation” = As long as we get subpoenaed… and even then, we won’t
  • “We are committed to diversity” = Please don’t click the executive leadership tab
  • “Inclusion is a part of our DNA” = And we have a video with the token gay, two Asians, and three African American vendors to prove it!
  • “Our Twitter feed was hacked” = We shouldn’t have fired Trey without getting the passwords
  • “It’s a rebuilding year” = Layoffs!
  • “We’ve hired McKinsey & Company” = Layoffs!
  • “We’re eliminating redundancies” = Layoffs!
  • “We’re maximizing efficiencies!” = Layoffs!
  • “We’re performing a strategic review of our options” = The company is for sale
  • “They’re just friends” = With benefits
  • “We’ll get back to you on that” = [insert laugh here]
  • “She was dehydrated” = Drug overdose
  • “He’s suffering from exhaustion” = Drug overdose
  • “He’s on sabbatical” = Rehab
  • “That wasn’t her” = Yes, it was
  • “No comment” = Everything is true
  • “Could not be reached for comment” = Hiding because everything is true
  • “That is categorically false” = In what category? Things that are true?

Excerpted from Jeremy Murphy’s new book, F*ck Off, Chloe: Surviving the OMGs! and FMLs! of Your Media Career, available in March.

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