Newspapers are increasingly relying on ’scoops of interpretation’
or ’spin’ in a bid to provide a daily diet of exclusives. This need to
find ’exclusive angles’ is placing increasing pressure on the
relationship between public relations professionals and journalists,
according to Guardian media commentator Roy Greenslade.
People in public relations need to start thinking more like journalists
and to learn how to tell complex and serious stories in a populist,
human interest way, he said.
Speaking to delegates at a workshop session on the second day of the
conference, Greenslade pointed out that the old division between ’hard
news’ and ’soft features’ is being blurred.
In a bid to boost sales broadsheets are becoming increasingly populist
in their editorial content.
’In the broadsheets there are fewer, what we might call, ’pure policy’
articles. Instead there is a demand for stories to be told through the
angle of human interest.’
Many reporters still see PR people as ’gatekeepers’ and feel that those
involved in corporate PR prevent them from getting to the real
decision-makers. ’Company chiefs in effect can hide behind their public
relations team,’ said Greenslade.
’The role of journalists and PR professionals are vastly different. We
can get along, but it will always be a struggle,’ he concluded.