For years, there has been friction between journalists and public relations professionals. It boils down to trust issues, excessive hype, advertising influences, sloppy reporting, and tabloid journalism. Both parties agree that they need each other. For instance, about half the material being sent to reporters and editors are from public relations sources. Nine times out of ten, a spokesperson for a firm is public relations personnel. Public relations professionals should realize that once a news release is in the media’s hands, they decide if it is newsworthy.
As stated earlier, there are many areas of friction between these two. Journalists complain of publicists using words like “revolutionary” and “unique” to add hype in a news release. Other complaints include sending unsolicited emails and not following deadlines. Also, many public relations professionals think that news coverage is based on the reporters’ opinions. To avoid sloppy reporting, professionals should educate and train executives on how the media operates and giving 30-second answers to questions, give plenty of background material to reporters, and familiarize executives with the basic news values. When being offered by a reporter to do a story and he/she is known for doing sensationalism, it is better to decline.
Make sure that you research and interview the reporter first before accepting a request of an interview. When preparing for interviews, plan the questions and answers first. Do not lie or say “no comment.” The same applies for news conferences. Remember to schedule it in advance at a time that is convenient for reporters. Select a location that is close to their places of work. Invitations should be sent 10 to 14 days in advance. After the conference, the spokesperson should be available for one-on-one interviews.
These were a few ways for both journalists and public relations professionals to get along. What are some tips you could add?