Editorial: Green light for a two-way street

Journalists and in-house press teams aren’t always the best of friends.

Journalists and in-house press teams aren’t always the best of

friends.



This is especially true when the issue that the media wants to tackle is

a sensitive one for the company involved, when the press office is more

likely to be viewed as a hindrance to the story, than a helping

hand.



It’s also unusual for the media to come out and praise the work of

in-house teams - they are far more likely to moan when they haven’t got

their way.



It’s even more noteworthy when the press officers in question work for a

police force, as the relationship between the police and the media

hasn’t been a shining example of co-operation and mutual respect in

recent years.



But the praise won by the Greater Manchester Police in its handling of

the Harold Shipman murder case shows that journalists and the police can

work together (story page one). The letters written by senior

journalists at the Daily Mail, the Daily Telegraph and the Times are

unqualified in their thanks to officers and the press office at the GMP,

with special mention of the new media relations head, Sarah

Dean-Forrester.



Plaudits such as: ’with any luck this will be seen as an example not

only by the GMP but by other forces in the years to come’, from Russell

Jenkins at the Times, illustrate the significance of the GMP’s open

attitude during the highly sensitive Shipman case.



This is only one case, and does not mean that journalists and PROs in

all the country’s police forces will work side-by-side from now on. But

it is a benchmark for in-house teams in organisations across all

sectors.



It’s a reminder to PROs that being as frank, open and transparent as

possible is far better than being unresponsive to the demands of the

media. It’s also a reminder to journalists that it’s a good idea to

praise when a story has been handled well - the journalists who wrote to

the GMP are virtually guaranteed a good relationship with the media team

from now on.



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