Thursday, February 7, 2008

Media Relations Strategies

Relationships among PR practitioners and journalists are vital for both professions to succeed. As I thought about the importance of building a strong rapport between the two fields I was reminded of an article that was brought to my attention last semester in my Introduction to Public Relations class.

Public Relations Practitioners and Journalists: Can't we all just get along?
On October 29th, Chris Anderson, the editor in chief of Wired magazine wrote a rather spirited post about some public relations practitioners and calling them "lazy flacks" due to all the emails he had been receiving. What did he do in response? He posted close to 300 email addresses (many from Edelman, 5W Public Relations and other well-known agencies) and announced that they have been blocked.Since then Chris has received an overwhelming response from his action and post. Many believed that what he did was not very nice. Others went immediately on the defense.The Bulldog Reporter took the opportunity to interview Chris Andersen and asked him how this whole situation can be avoided. Read it here .This re-occurring battle of public relations practitioners vs. journalists is really getting old. As students and future professionals of the industry, what are your thoughts?

I agree with Chris Anderson in that he is sick and tired of reading thousands of emails each day, especially when they have nothing to do with his area of writing. One of the main goals for public relations practitioners is to target news releases and pitches to appropriate media outlets. From Anderson’s point of view I think he is completely justified in calling PR people “lazy flacks”. Just because he is Editor and Chief of a magazine does not mean that it is his duty to send out possible story ideas to all of his employees. I understand his frustrations and although I may not have handled the situation in the same manner as him, I can see where he is coming from.

Last semester I interned with the Moroch Entertainment in Dallas. I was in charge of all college publicity and promotions for the Sony Pictures account. This gave me the unique opportunity to really act like a PR practitioner working with college media outlets. I realized right away that finding the appropriate editor at each publication was the sole most important thing. The media contacts I made knew that I would only send them information that would be valuable for what they write about, in other words my emails were targeted specifically toward them. Not only did this make them respect the information I sent but it also helped me to build a relationship with them. This relationship functioned as a valuable tool when I needed help with a project that was not being picked up by other media outlets.

Although I do believe that experienced PR practitioners sometimes get lazy and send out news releases or emails without fully considering a specific target audience I do not think it is fair to call the profession as a whole lazy. In today’s society many people who call themselves PR practitioners are not actually educated and qualified in the profession of PR. I think it is really up to the PR profession as a whole to communicate to our society that not everyone can be a PR practitioner. We must work individually to make sure that we strategically reach our target audiences through appropriate media outlets on a daily basis. It is better to not to send a news release out then to send it to a random media outlet. Educated and experienced PR professionals are the only ones that can change the way our profession is viewed. In every profession there are individuals who are less educated and not as qualified and we must work to show society that those individuals are not really considered PR practitioners.

1 comment:

Aaron Buchbinder said...

I do agree about the PR world being full of a lot of people who are note sure or aware of what they are really doing which holds us back from getting ink. However I do believe that our generation has an advantage because of all the new communication techonologies and education we learn to make sure we can get published.