You’ve probably come across numerous blog posts along the lines of ’10 things I hate about PRs’. Here’s a recent blog post from PR Daily.
It’s a familiar long-standing battle between the two professions, which usually concludes with the admission that journalists and PRs would be lost without each other. However you can’t deny that the relationship doesn’t always run smoothly. So if you’re in PR, you probably have a few pet peeves concerning journalists too. Here are my top four:
- Journalists are human and sometimes make mistakes in their copy or in headlines. PRs need to make sure though that their clients are represented in the best possible way and that only correct facts are being picked up by the media. So PRs will invariably request to iron errors out but sometimes have to wait a little while for these things to happen or – even worse – never to happen at all. Being as transparent and as responsive as possible will benefit the relationships between PRs and journalists. And sometimes a little nudge won’t harm anyone.
- Some journalists pretend to be interested in a story when they aren’t, but then don’t like it when PRs chase them up. Sometimes the suggested topic might not fit within the news schedule for example, but for PR professionals feedback from the press is important. PRs don’t mind honesty from journalists, as they can then get back to their teams and use the information for future media outreaches. So if journalists say they are interested, PRs will ask for feedback if they don’t run the story. A simple “no, thanks and this is why” is honest and way more useful than a “maybe”.
- Some journalists don’t always ask for a comment before running a story. It can be frustrating to see a story on a sensitive topic about a client without having been asked for comment. Similarly, other journalists work on a story for a little while, but only request comment shortly before their deadline. Sadly, “No comment” is sometimes the only statement PRs can provide if they don’t have a rapid response on hand. PRs do plan ahead – allowing enough time to react ensures that they can run comment past all necessary client approvals. And ultimately, that they can provide the best and most tailored comment possible.
- And finally, PRs understand that last minute changes make late cancellations sometimes unavoidable. But one thing to keep in mind maybe is that PR events are planned long in advance – Sorting out accommodation, transport and dinners is a lengthy process. And the decisions journalists make can reflect on a PRs reputation and can be critical to an event’s outcome or even a campaign’s success. Giving as much notice as possible is important. It gives PRs the chance to plan in alternatives, such as telephone briefings for example. This again helps to avoids surprises and disappointed clients.
What do you think? Are these justified? And do you have any other tips on how PRs and journalists can work better together?