July 11, 2010 at 12:46 pm (PRCA 3330 Topic of the Week)


          Journalists and public relations professionals often but heads in various areas of media relations. Whether it’s about the content of a news release, the ways in which we communicate with them, or even about the structure of stories, it is inevitable that sometimes these two professions just don’t see eye-to-eye about certain issues.

          Even though it is tough to avoid this contradiction of opinions, PR people must try to maintain a stable relationship with the journalists in order to remain professional. This week I have compiled a list of ten ways in which public relations professionals can sometimes drive journalists crazy:

1. Problem: Using too many hype words can irritate the journalist and make the publicist/PR professional seem incompetent.

Solution: State the facts without using fluff; just be straightforward and get your point across without adding unnecessary words that seem to be there only to take up space.

2. Problem: Sending gimmicks along with a news release or media kit can annoy a journalist. According to the textbook, “T=shirts, coasters, caps, paperweights, pens, and mugs have historically been the most popular items, but PR Week columnist Benedict Carver says these items are dull and overdone: ‘Everyone has 50 mugs and T-shirts.’”

Solution: Try and avoid sending promotional items along with your news release, but if you do decide to include some makes sure there is a clear connection between the promotional item and the news you are announcing.

3. Problem: PR professionals sometimes submit sloppy or biased writing in the news releases they send to journalists.

Solution: Don’t let your opinion show in your writing unless that is the basis of the piece; remain neutral and just state the facts.

4. Problem: Some PR writing can fall into the category of “tabloid journalism” and this may seem unprofessional to journalists looking for different types of stories.

Solution: Our textbook tells us not to “paint all media with the same brush” which basically means that service should be given to responsible journalists and proper information should be provided.

5. Problem: PR professionals can sometimes bombard journalists with too many follow ups.

Solution: It is important to follow-up on a media alert or news release once, but don’t over-do it! Call and briefly follow-up or leave a message if you get their voicemail; don’t leave to many messages just like you would for any other personal instance. If they see you made an effort, they will respond if they need to speak with you.

6. Problem: Do not submit late work!

Solution: Make sure to turn everything in on time and journalists will appreciate your professionalism.

7. Problem: Do not try to tell the journalists how they should do their job.

Solution: The journalists have training in what their job entails; let them stick to what they know best and do the same yourself.

8. Problem: PR people are sometimes unavailable to answer questions from the journalists.

Solution: Be ready to answer any questions they may have about your story; availability is the key if you want your story published the way in which you intended for it to come across.

9. Problem: PR professionals can sometimes get mad if their story is not chosen for publication.

Solution: You must understand that journalists have a lot to do and many stories to cover so if yours is not chosen this time, maybe next time around will be your shot. Try not to have any hard feelings or hold any grudges.

10. Problem: Sometimes journalists are annoyed with stories that are not newsworthy.

Solution: Always give the best news that you possibly can; do not submit stories that are boring and do not pick any topics that are not newsworthy.



1 Comment

  1. ce00363 said,

    Once again I am left happy with one of your post. I especially love your first problem and solution. Noone likes fluff. It is useless information and information that can be left out of writing. You can make your main points and good information without using “fluff.” This makes it harder to read actually and makes writers seem not as educated. Also, writers that do insert words that are useless are not viewed as good writers. Doing this makes it seem as if you are just getting by by the minimum. Great post once again. Enjoy Paris!!

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