The professionals who most need spin doctors are spin doctors themselves, according to research. Conor McGrath, who has just completed his PhD at the University of Ulster, focused his research on the lowly status of lobbyists, who have now replaced journalists at the top of the public's hate list. Dr McGrath, a former lobbyist himself, said professional lobbying bodies should forge greater links with the public if they were to build a better reputation. "Lobbyists are not very well thought of, yet they are vital to the functioning of a democracy. In a sense, they are their own worst enemies. The lobbying industry needs to realise that it must reach out beyond itself and ... demonstrate how lobbyists' work brings value to public life in general," he said.