What's new in Social Media this week
Building a powerful LinkedIn profile, using GIFs to effect and YouTube ads update
A lot of people in the PR industry probably received this link over the past couple of
weeks. Responding to a post about PR blunders on popular web-technology blog ReadWriteWeb, a commenter fired off an angry response titled “10 Nightmarish behaviors PR people hate about journalists”.
This provoked a lot of discussion in our office and, before we go any further, I want to say why I feel I can offer a balanced response; I spent 13 years as a technology journalist before leaving my own kind to live amongst the PR people in 2005, so I know what life is like on both sides of the industry.
Comments like this are deeply unconstructive. Instead of this kind of sniping, it might be a bit more useful to help both professions understand the challenges and frustrations we all face.
It’s important to understand that, from the point of view of a journalist, a lot of PR communication is not particularly useful. I’m sure that none of you highly skilled professional communicators reading this will have ever desperately pitched a weak story to whichever journalists will pick up the phone, or tried to persuade journalists to attend a completely irrelevant event just to get the numbers up, but you’ll have to take my word for it that this kind of thing happens.
Imagine trying to do your job while dozens of people every day are clamouring for your attention by phone and email, but only about 10 percent of those people have anything relevant or useful to offer.
It’s not surprising that journalists get frustrated, or that they occasionally write articles to let off a little steam, since they often have the benefit of a platform on which to voice their displeasure. PR people generally don’t have a platform from which to voice their own frustrations and, in any case, since a key goal of PR is to build good relationships with journalists, few would be willing to publicly rant about them.
So in the spirit of constructive dialogue, here are some things I did when I was a journalist that I am now deeply, deeply sorry for because I’ve seen the consequences from the other side of the fence:
So what do PR people really think of journalists? We love working with them and, of course, we couldn’t do our jobs without them – we just wish sometimes they’d be a bit nicer to us…
Editor’s note: This post originally appeared on the Text 100 UK blog.