10 Ways PR people drive Journalists Crazy & How Not to

Journalists complain when Public Relations people:

  1. Use excessive hype when writing press releases.
  2. Do not know all the details about the event.
  3. Are not familiar with editorial requirements or format
  4. Make a nuisance of themselves.
  5. Write poorly written materials.
  6. Do not meet publication deadlines.
  7. Do not have a spokesperson available after press conferences or for phone calls.
  8. Spam press releases.
  9. Use gimmicks to get attention.
  10. Do not return phone calls.

These are all minor infractions that tend to bristle the neck hair of journalists causing chafing.  Chafing can be avoided with a little common sense and consideration. Since I am studying both journalism and public relations, I can appreciate the concerns on both sides.  Journalists write facts. They do not generally write opinion or hype. They report what they know to be true. Public relations professionals can provide the facts without the hype.  Conversely, public relations professionals represent organizations for whom they want to represent in the best possible light. One can still do that with integrity and truth. In my opinion, if the organization cannot be represented with honesty and integrity intact, one should consider finding another organization to represent.

The remaining irritants can be corrected very simply by taking the necessary time as PR professionals to do the job well.  As in any profession, doing your job well means being diligent. Diligence can be recognized as:

  • Being familiar enough with the organization and event you represent to answer questions honestly and completely.
  • If unfamiliar with journalistic requirements, formats, or procedures–get to know your reporters and ask for their preferences.
  • Make yourself available for phone calls, stay after news conferences and return phone calls–even if it is 5:01 p.m.
  • In general, be considerate. If you wouldn’t like whatever it is you are about to do to a journalist, done to you–don’t do it.

Likewise, journalists can take the time to educate the PR professional in the ways of the journalists world with a little patience. We are all in this thing called life together. We are all trying to do the best we can (well, most of us.) Can’t we be quick to help, not quick to bite? 🙂

Source: PR Writing


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