A PR win for the National Grid but a #fail for the reporting world

Technical PR
Pylons: Cool or not?
You might have heard that the National Grid has been running a competition to find a new design for the classic electricity pylon. The finalists have been chosen and scale models of the design are going on show as part of The London Design Festival next month.

For me, this is a great example of the engineering industry communicating effectively. Apart from anything else, one of the key messages that have appeared in nearly all of the coverage has been increased renewable energy production.

So hats of to the National Grid for a PR job well done.

However, you may have heard about the competition on the BBC’s One Show. If so, you will have also heard renowned electrical engineer (as they say in Wayne’s World – not) and former England Cricket Captain Phil Tuffnell drop a bit of a clanger. He claimed that we need new electricity pylons because the energy produced from renewable sources is somehow ‘bigger’. Poor show BBC.

There were some similarly confused views expressed over the weekend after a neutrino appeared to beat the speed of light when travelling between the European Organization for Nuclear Research (Cern), home of the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland, and the Gran Sasso laboratory in Italy.

Thank goodness we have Professor Brian Cox to sort it all out for us.

Both are illustrations of confused Scientific and engineering reporting in the mass media. Both we PR folk and journalists have a role to play in putting this right. Maybe the key is simply ensuring accuracy in our communications.

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Richard Stone

Stone Junction is a cool technical PR agency based in Stafford. We work for all sorts of businesses, with a particular focus on technology, technical and engineering companies. We like being sent cake and biscuits by clients, journalists and prospects.

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