Bursting shells firing from anti-aircraft artillery is how the
dictionary defines the word 'flak.' Over time, the PR executive has
unwillingly adopted and retained ownership for this connotation that
refers to fiery pieces of ammunition that come from enemy aircraft,
aimed at a combative target.
But it's time for the battle analogies to cease.
There are several tactics that can enhance the relationship between the
PR practitioners and reporters. For the former, this means:
1. Maintaining the relationship with a journalist by becoming a source
and not always 'pitching' the client. Try a proactive pitch by providing
a story or news angle that doesn't exactly coincide with the client or
organization you represent. Put the message into context with
competitors, industry or trend news.
2. Forge the relationship by keeping in contact with the reporter on a
personal level; it doesn't always have to be news related outreach.
Build a friendship with the reporter. Offer to meet if you're in the
same general area.
3. Develop a solid strategic plan to augment and reinforce the story
angle or pitch you are presenting to a journalist.
If every PR exec realized the importance of integrating strategy and the
'big picture' into pitching and not just pitching to check off a laundry
list to get through, journalists might also start looking at PR people
in a different light.
To meet the PR exec halfway, the journalist should:
1. Remain open-minded. Do not shut out a potential story due to negative
and sometimes false beliefs about the source. Expect a thoughtful,
2. Focus on the most reliable PR contacts. Seek additional contacts from
the dependable ones and award access to those who did their
3. Let bygones be bygones. Grasp the new economy and all of its
newsworthy occupants and resources!
Isn't it about time these two professions broke down existing barriers
and met halfway to make their jobs easier? Journalists should no longer
have to hold their shields to the sky and wait to dodge the next flak
shot at them. Instead, they should exit the war zone, realize what
they're fighting for and form an alliance. PR execs and journalists
should be willing to identify their professional common ground, expand
on it and, most importantly, focus on presenting the highest quality of
information, news and content to an extensive, vast and ideally