The publicist Paul Graham (2005) describes PR as “a huge, quiet submarine beneath the news”. He reveals to media relations, which have always been the most significant part of the PR duties.
I should mention, that the media relations equally important to both PR professionals and journalists, as they provide the channel to communicate with the wide audience for publicists and supply news and stories to the media. The numbers also reflect the importance of this communication sphere. Due to «State OF PR» report by CIPR (2016), media relations is the second of most time-occupying professional activity; in PRCA’s PR Census (2016) is said that for 76% of PR professionals media relations is the main duty. Moreover, as Adrian Wheeler, PRCA trainer, says media relations is the only specific PR activity, which differs public relations industry from any other promotional or marketing sphere (2016). In the same webinar, Wheeler states, that PR departments source up to 90% of all media content.
The journalists and PR practitioners agree on the importance of the issue, so it often becomes the topic in industry and major media. However, the tones of these publications differ.
In the article in Forbes (Wynne, 2014) few journalists and editors from business and tech media reveal their views on the press releases and how they should be written. The article attacks releases for being too long, vague and complimentary to the client, while the same time presents PR practitioners as lazy, unprofessional and arrogant. “Your job is to turn your information or story angle into an actual story”, states Wynne. The same view was presented at workshop “How to create a good press release?” in Russian Information Agency Interfax (2016): they actually teach PR practitioners to write news the same way as students at the faculty of journalism are taught. But I wonder if PR managers would create the news texts, what the journalist will do then?
In recent article for Fashionista Alyssa Klein (2016) states the opposite: “Don’t tell us you have a “Story Idea!” for us. Coming up with the story ideas is our job”. It feels this position is more logical and relevant to the idea of media relations. However, this article also presents the PR professionals, not from the best side. The author shows them as impolite, impudent and amoral persons. Gifs from Absolutely Fabulous and PubLIZity (part of Kroll Show), used as illustrations in the article, only add more despise to the image of PR professionals.
Reading this articles, I got a feeling, that journalists aim to present the PR professionals as unreliable and narrow-minded chatterboxes, who aim to promote the products regardless news agenda and audience interests. I can believe, that each journalist has met few PR managers of this type, but can’t believe, that all their relations with PR departments were so bad and unproductive. Probably, the journalists intentionally create the negative image to the PR industry. Maybe, they are afraid of the competence, and maybe, they feel that they lose their audience day by day because of the new technologies and social media. Anyway, while PR openly admits the importance of media relations and significant role, journalists play in their work; the media present PR in the negative light in 80% of cases (Morris, Goldsworthy, 2012).
CIPR (2016). State OF PR 2016. Available from https://www.cipr.co.uk/sites/default/files/CIPR_StateofPR_16.pdf
Klein, A. (2016) How Not To Pitch Fashion Editors: A Complete Guide. Fashionista.com.Availablee from http://fashionista.com/2016/08/how-to-pitch-fashion-editors.
Morris, T., and Goldsworthy, S. (2012). PR today: the authoritative guide to public relations. Palgrave Macmillan.
Paul Graham. (2005). The Submarine. Available from http://www.paulgraham.com/submarine.html.
PRCA (2016). PR Census 2016. Available from http://prmeasured.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/PRCA-PR-Census-2016.pdf
Wynne, R. (2014). What Journalists Really Think Of Your Press Release. Forbes. Available from http://www.forbes.com/sites/robertwynne/2014/02/24/what-journalists-really-think-of-your-press-release/#191410376781.