EDITORIAL: Do not blur PR/journalist boundaries

The deal this week between PR firm Playmaker and news provider National News - to co-locate, swap stock and encourage journalists to act as media advisers to Playmaker clients - may raise eyebrows among those journalists who make much of their independence from the pervasive influence of PR.

As NN editor Richard Leifer admits, it is easy to pick holes in the deal on the basis that journalistic integrity could potentially be put under threat. But before condemning PROs for corrupting hitherto pristine hacks, it is worth noting the potential drawbacks for PR practitioners allying themselves too closely with a single media outlet, albeit an agency that sells stories onto newspapers and magazines.

These are very early days, and this particular deal may prove to benefit all involved, but blurring the boundaries between journalism and public relations is not a trend that is likely to benefit either party in the long term.

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