Disconnect between PR & Journalism

“I hate when PR people tell me what to include in a story.”

The press release didn’t do exactly that. It simply included all the pertinent information should a journalist want to write something about my client.

This comment came from a local journalist when one of my employees called to follow up about her interest in the upcoming clothing trade-in promo at The Shirt Box, one of Your People’s new clients.

She gracefully explained that the press release contained all the necessary information should the journalist choose to use it – but of course, a press release does not dictate what a journalist must say. The anger was clearly displaced – we’d never met this woman and we were only seeking some nice mention in local press of a wonderful charity effort – to bring gently used clothing to out-of-work men looking to get back into the workforce.

This is why I never intended to get into PR. But when my first gracious corporate marketing and communications client asked if I might be his liaison between company and media, I graciously agreed.

After 15 years of a successful journalism career, I know how to pitch! I know how to tell a story. I know how to notice the details.

What I don’t know how to do – or perhaps what I do not LIKE to do – is brown-nose my way into media attention. I prefer to be straight, authentic. I  take on clients who are sincere in their pursuits and in their businesses. Most of them are hard-working business owners who have poured blood, sweat, tears and their savings into a lifelong dream of owning a business.

They mean well. They do good things. They want to succeed – to support themselves, to make a difference, to be noticed.

That’s all.

Public relations. It’s the relationship part that makes it a challenge. I realize that journalists don’t get a fair deal these days – the devastation of the industry is why I ended up in PR! Underpaid, overworked, unappreciated. When I was in college, journalist was the  lowest-paying career in a list of the ten lowest-paying professions to go into. I doubt it’s changed.

We’re all trying to tell our stories. We’re all trying to get people to listen. We are all worth it. Please. Give the benefit of the doubt. We all deserve it.

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