/ COMPANY NEWS

Do Opposites Attract? PR and Journalism

Published OnJanuary 28, 2010

Share

Published OnJanuary 28, 2010
Share

Ying Yang - Opposites Attract PR and Journalism “A good PR person sentences investigation to death”, stated the director of the local Centre for Independent Journalism (CJI), when results of the “Media Transparency and Media Practice in Romania” survey were debated during PR Week in Romania. The survey was conducted online by the Oklahoma University and US Institute for Public Relations, together with some media related Romanian NGOs. While the response rate was low overall, 127 PR practitioners and 66 journalists answered 67 questions about the Romanian media and PR environment. One of the survey findings is that journalism has become more professional than PR in Romania. The official opinion of the CJI, is that a high professional standard of PR in Romania is not desired by journalists as they believe that good PR blocks access to information for journalists, especially in the public sector. As a former journalist myself, I understand both sides of the story and I find myself advocating to former colleagues what PR is really about. By simply looking in the dictionary we can find that a PR person is “a person employed to establish and promote a favorable relationship with the public”. So if “bad news is good news” works for journalists, it obviously does not work for a PR person as per the definition. Journalists tend to think that good PR equals easy direct access to the General Manager. And to their surprise, the PR person gives them “commercial stories” instead, while the “real” story lies undiscovered.  The objectives of PR and journalism are not the same and exclusive stories do not come alive from press releases, they need to be explored by an investigative journalistic mind and not expected as a default ‘from the other side’. Another aspect that journalists ignore about PR is that Public Relations is much more than media relations. PR consultancy also includes corporate and brand communication, internal communication, CSR and so on. Let’s not forget that PR does not only deal with the bright side of things. And that PR’s role in a crisis situation, for instance, is crucial – for both the company and the media. Perhaps many aspects of PR would be clearer for journalists – who tend to regard PR persons as manipulators of people’s minds rather than conveyors of the truth – if an ethical code of PR specialists was issued in Romania. Just as journalists in Romania have recently done. It is true that PR people often don’t put themselves in the journalists’ shoes, which further widens the gap, and that there is room for improvement in our camp as well. The professionalization of PR has to go hand in hand with that of journalism, both camps have to adjust and create a dialogue between them, otherwise misunderstandings between the two will only continue. Photo credit

let’s work together