The age old battle between PR professional and reporter – will it ever end? This has been a discussion since…well since as far back as there were public relations professionals and reporters really. To be honest, I’ve always been extremely confused by it. We’re all just trying to do our jobs, work hard for our clients or employers and for the most part, make it through the days, weeks, months and years that we spend in our jobs.
I’m on the PR side of it and would be lying to say that I never get frustrated with my reporter counterparts. (If you’re a PR person or reporter try not to shiver at the word counterpart right now – trust me, we’re all similar beings.) I’ve called with a client story, and received the following responses:
-I’m on deadline
-I’m not interested
My reply to the dial tone usually goes something like this: I’M ON DEADLINE TOO!!!! ::SLAM:: ::SLAM:: ::Tear:
But, I didn’t even get to tell you who I was… ::SLAM:: ::SLAM:: ::Tear…::
The reporter doesn’t have to report back to their employer that they just refused their 15th “non” story of the day. I do, however, have to report back to my client that their AMAZING story isn’t going to get any coverage.
Reporters have put out articles about how PR professionals piss them off, but I wanted to find out first hand. So, I played reporter for a day and interviewed a reporter. I won’t reveal who this reporter is upon her request. But, she reports for a major network in a major city. Enough said – onto the interview!!! (Not so much an interview – more just her telling me exactly what I (didn’t) want to hear.
“The News is Not a Platform for Free Advertising or Publicity.”
Stop sending emails about non-stories. If you want advertising, you have to buy it. There has to be a newsworthy component to your story. A local Doctor coming up with a new procedure – newsworthy. A local Doctor moving into a new office – NOT.
I wish I could say I was never guilty of this. To all you reporters that have received “GRAND OPENING” press releases from me. Woops. Sorry.
Stop Offering One Expert to Comment on Every National Story. If you are an expert on one topic, it is hard to believe you’re an expert on a completely different topic.
If you are representing a psychologist, don’t offer them to comment on substance abuse one week, divorce the next week and suicide the following week. They are all irrelevant. Not every news organization wants to do a “It Could Happen To You.” Unless your psychologist has a patient who went through a very similar situation, it’s probably not relevant for them to comment.
Do Not Put Caution Tape Around Your Client.
If you tell a reporter to NOT ask a question. Expect them to ask it. If you agree to the interview, you agree to it. Stop setting guidelines ::cough:: Tiger ::cough::.
You Constantly Call Me When Your Client is On Top…
Why do you avoid me when there is a crisis. Ignoring a reporter or saying no comment comes off as an admission of guilt. Every reporter is appreciative when you help them with their stories, just as you are appreciative when they help you with yours. The reporter is not at fault for your client’s screw up. It’s a PR professionals responsibility to do damage control. If the people responsible for getting access to your client in crisis make it difficult for reporters, they have free range ON AIR.
Anyone have any additions on the PR or Reporter side? I’d like to lend one big apology to the reporters that I’ve DEFINITELY pissed off over the years!
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