New PR industry body CEO to continue working as freelance journalist

Ray ShawThe newly appointed CEO of the Public Relations Institute of Australia Ray Shaw is to continue to working as a freelance journalist as a “hobby”, he has told Mumbrella.

Last night Shaw was announced as the fourth boss of the association in less than two years.

He today told Mumbrella that he intended to go on working as an IT journalist, writing primarily for IT Wire.

Speaking from a Panasonic launch event, Shaw told Mumbrella: “That’s a hobby. I’m passionate about IT, it’s been part of my life for 30 years and I’ll do some selected stories for IT Wire to keep my hand in and to keep up with technology.  IT Wire is freelance so it really comes down to me submitting stories that are interesting.”

Shaw’s output for IT Wire has been prolific in recent days. So far this week, he has five bylined stories for the website. Last week, it published eight of his articles.

Asked about whether working as a journalist while leading the public relations industry’s professional body represented a conflict of interest, he replied: “I don’t see it as a conflict. All of my working life I have been an IT journalist.

“I did a radio program on ABC for 10 years about consumer IT that was between 1994 and 2004. It’s a passion. IT excites me and I’ll give my 40 hours a week to PRIA but I’ll also give time to other hobbies.”

On the direction he would like to lead PRIA in, Shaw warned that he wouldn’t be in a position to make many changes in his first year

“One of the things about an association is that all of the planning is done in the previous 12 months. So the new financial year starts on July 1 and all of that planning has been done without me,” he said.

“I would like to see some more categories of membership, some categories that bring more people in that are working in PR but don’t know they are but because of that 12 month program plan most of that has been done. I plan to use the next year to look at what needs to be done and where we can go. I would like to see some new membership categories and some special groups formed but I won’t be able to do too much in the first year.”

Shaw has been a member of PRIA for 40 years, which he said “is quite an achievement in its own right”.

“I have seen it grow, I’ve seen it grow into a national organisation. I’ve seen it enhance its management and education opportunities. What I’m really looking to do is more and better of the same not just the same.”

Shaw’s appointment comes at a turbulent time for PRIA which saw president Terri-Helen Gaynor ousted by Mike Watson in February and the entire board resigning.

On how long he expects to be with the association, Shaw said: “It’s an open-ended thing. I would probably suggest if they like me and if I do a good job it could be for five to 10 years. I’m at the other end of my career and I’m not looking to move on.

“If I make a difference than I’ll stay.”

Shaw officially assumes the position from July 1.

Miranda Ward


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