Photos told most of the story, but a few select words also caught my eye in this Medill magazine essay.

Is there an echo around here?

Last week, I wrote about one of the signs of an effective publicist: that he or she is, essentially, invisible.

Likening the PR pro’s role to that of a baseball umpire or football referee, I noted, “That quest for anonymity–not for its own sake but as a barometer of a job well done–often applies to public relations, too.”

So yesterday, scanning Medill, my journalism school alumni magazine, I did a double-take when I came upon this remark attributed to fellow alum Roy Elvove: “Like umpires, the best PR people are the ones you don’t notice.”

Elvove, for those scoring at home, is executive vice president and director of worldwide communications at BBDO, selected by AdWeek last year as the Global Agency of the Year.

He is also, without a doubt, someone who has been more effective, for a longer span of time, than I have been at this art of not being noticed. That’s probably related to the fact that he puts in exceedingly long hours, if Ray Whitehouse’s photo essay in Medill is even remotely close to a typical day.

To wit: a photo at 4:47 a.m. shows Elvove, more than two hours after starting his day, as he digs through stories about BBDO and its clients. Me? Around that time, I’d be making the transition from the couch to bed, having dozed off as I read a book four hours earlier.

To see Whitehouse’s “day in a life” photo gallery, check out

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