Contrary to the scorched earth theory of “us versus them” PR espoused by many practitioners trying to pander solely to their clients, both journalists and communications professionals need to respect each other’s work goals in order to be more successful and provide value to their respective organizations – and ultimately the public.
Some journalists are stuck in the notion that communications professionals can’t be trusted and that journalists should gather information more directly from sources who are closer to a situation than a so-called “PR flack”, a widely-used derogatory term used to describe public relations professionals.
Conversely, many intimidated communications professionals think journalists are naive, subjective and lazy.
Since I’ve made a career working in journalism and now in public relations, I know first-hand that there is no substitute for frank and honest conversation between both professionals at the outset of a relationship. In lieu of the ever present deadlines and demanding crisis situations, both sides should set aside preconceived notions and be open to what could develop from a potential relationship.
Of course, there should be a healthy skepticism by both professionals. A reporter should consider all sources of information in their story; so also should a communications professional use all conduits, including journalists, to tell their client’s best story.
An interesting online discussion about this topic can be found at: