EDITORIAL: Good tips make journalists' day

As the PR business gets ever more complex, it's sometimes too easy to forget what PR people - especially the agency troops and in-house execs - spend most of their time doing.

As the PR business gets ever more complex, it's sometimes too easy to forget what PR people - especially the agency troops and in-house execs - spend most of their time doing.

As the PR business gets ever more complex, it's sometimes too easy to forget what PR people - especially the agency troops and in-house execs - spend most of their time doing.

It's all very well coming up with a fantastically creative campaign idea but if your AEs can't sell to the media, you might as well give up.

The problem is that building good relationships with journalists has turned into a mysterious art, with many young PR people regarding the media as something akin to royalty, to be circled around cautiously. This may have happened because the majority of young practitioners are now trained and educated through PR/communications degrees.

In the light of this tendency, the Technique feature on dealing with the press (page 22) makes refreshing reading. Our West Coast reporter, Aimee Grove, talked to journalists across a range of media to find out what marks out their favorite PR people. No surprises that they like PRs who know their stuff and deliver it in a timely fashion.

How many more times do journalists have to repeat the phrase 'read my magazine/newspaper/Web site?'

More rarely acknowledged is the experience of one travel and lifestyle editor, who singles out a PR practitioner who feeds stories that have no benefit to his client.

To some, acting as a 'source' and 'tip-off' merchant is a waste of the client's time and money. But the long-term value of acting with a degree of independence is reflected in the comments of The Wall Street Journal's San Francisco deputy bureau chief, Don Clark. He says he respects those people in PR who keep their ears open for the kind of stories they know he would want. 'You build credibility that way. The people I have developed relationships with don't just talk about their clients,' he says.

Like public relations, journalism isn't rocket science. Ultimately, what journalists want is a good story, and they're not too bothered who tells it to them. If you can endear yourself to a reporter by passing on a great news tip, you'll often have done yourself more of a favor than you would by sending a thousand beautifully constructed press releases.





Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register
Already registered?
Sign in