The PR Submarine

"One of the most surprising things I discovered during my brief business career was the existence of the PR industry, lurking like a huge, quiet submarine beneath the news," writes computer programmer and author Paul Graham. Graham discusses how to detect PR-generated "buzz." For example, a spate of stories - in the New York Times, Boston Globe, and U.S. News & World Report, among others - declared that men's business suits are making a fashion comeback. "If you search for the obvious phrases, you turn up several efforts over the years to place stories about the return of the suit," Graham says. "Trend articles like this are almost always the work of PR firms. Once you know how to read them, it's straightforward to figure out who the client is. With trend stories, PR firms usually line up one or more 'experts' to talk about the industry. ... When you get to the end of the experts, look for the client. And bingo, there it is: The Men's Wearhouse."