Getting Along with Journalists

As a public relations professional, you will often find yourself clamoring for media coverage to please your clients. Journalists want and depend on good stories. The combination of the two professions should make for perfect harmony, however quite often a distrust can place a void on this potential friendship. So why can’t we all just get along…? Because lets face it, we need one another.
The media absolutely has a dependence on those in the public relations field. More time is spent on processing information rather than heading out into the city to investigate and cultivate a spectacular story. Strict deadlines no longer permit the luxury of time and many newspapers have cut down considerably on manpower. A journalist’s workload is heavier than ever therefore it is about time we start working together. Etiquette and professionalism are equally as important as honesty and accuracy. That being said, these four factors will foster your happy marriage to journalists.
When pitching a story, ALWAYS ask the reporter “did I catch you on deadline” or “do you have a minute to chat?” If they say yes, do yourself a favor and get off the phone immediately. Ask when is a better time for you to call back and then hang up. Chances are you will get an answer similar to, “yes I am on deadline, but what have you got.” Therefore, do not get caught pitching a novel length story. Keep it quick and concise on the phone because your next step is a follow-up email with additional information.
Professionalism should be a no brainer. If you plan on fibbing you and your client’s way into the public eye, find a new profession this instant. If you lie to a journalist, they will make sure you never have another story published again. Not only will you and your client never receive coverage but you will never regain your credibility.
A journalist may not agree but there is such a thing as an honest public relations professional. Their information is always solid and their intentions are clear. So be up front because your accurate and truthful pitch may be the perfect fit for a journalist in need of one more story without the time to gather and investigate the facts.
As a public relations professional, you have information that needs coverage. As a journalist you want stories that correlate with your readerships interests. So lets stop acting like water and oil, because if we both stay professional, respectful and honest then friendship, whether strictly professional or even personal, is inevitable. 

This guest blog was written by PRowl Public Relations staff member Emily Storz.

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