Striking a balance between PR pros and Journalists

In the world of collaboration, heavy head attitude is not beneficial for any aspiring professional, be it PR executive or Journalist. It is important to leverage the expertise of each other to ensure strong engagement and industry growth. 

In my 9 years of combined experience in Corporate Journalism and Public Relations, I was fortunate to cherish precious moments in both professions. The transition from Journalism to Public Relations was not easy as it was a complete 360-degree shift. Though initially, PR felt like a completely different world, a journalism background and strong PR network backed me in this vital transition.

Getting into new shoes was not an easy thing for me and many times the ‘journalistic attitude’ would emerge in a certain scenario. Especially when my manager wants me to do some PR and I would think it’s not worth it. But as I said it was a shift not only in the job role but the perspective, hence, things became smooth gradually. I love my job and enjoy every part of it.

Today, when I observe both the professions as a neutral person, I feel a lot of respect for them. However, I also spot a couple of flaws in the relationship between PR pros and reporters that requires immediate attention and striking a balance between impatient/ reckless PR pros and arrogant/ egoistic reporters is one of them.

During my tenure as a journalist, I had many disagreements with PR professionals, especially, senior account managers. I often found them annoying when they would go out of the way to ‘protect’ their clients from media bashing. I have seen many PR pros briefing questions, directing the flow of interviews and even advising reporters on article content. While there is nothing wrong to support reporters with information, PR pros should set limits of their interference in the creative freedom of journalists.

I remember one incident where a PR manager was constantly interrupting reporters while media briefing. This act of her annoyed all the press people in the room and eventually, the company executives took note of that. She was ultimately asked to leave the press room and I can imagine the awkward situation everyone fell into due to unnecessary smartness of one person. While PR pros have a mandate of image building of a brand, such as the top ‘protective’ attitude is not good for their benefit. No matter how much PR pros know about their clients, remember journalists always know more than them. Therefore, senior PR executives should set boundaries of their engagement with both media and clients.

Now comes the other side of the story. My PR friends would always complain about the arrogance of a certain section of journalists. I would disagree and justify their behaviour. But now as a communications specialist, I feel the same heat. A certain section of journalists treating PR pros disrespectfully is a fact. However, on some occasion, this unprofessional attitude of e few media professionals cross the limits of tolerance. No matter how much you are under pressure of a deadline, insulting PR pros over phone calls and emails is not at all justified. Also blacklisting them and publicly denouncing should not be a weapon to pacify pity ego issues.

Both PR and Journalism are the two sides of the same coin and both require mutual help to get their job done. As PR pros need journalists for media coverage and publicity, journalists also need them for leads and content support. In the world of collaboration, heavy head attitude is not beneficial for any aspiring professional, be it PR executive or Journalist. It is important to leverage the expertise of each other to ensure strong engagement and industry growth.

 


The views and opinions published here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher.

Priyanka Pugaokar
Priyanka Pugaokar is a communications specialist with 9+ years of combined experience into Corporate Journalism and Corporate Communications. Her core competencies include content generation, external communication, crisis communication, strategic planning, brand building, media and event management. She is currently associated with Rashi Peripherals Pvt Ltd as Public Relations Manager and singlehandedly leading various innovative PR campaigns.

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