Why Journalists Should Think Like PR Agencies

Previously I have written about how those working in PR need to think like journalists and to get a better understanding of how the media works, so as to better influence  it on behalf of their clients.  Indeed, an entire section of our monthly e-news, Queentessentials, is devoted to Meet the Media, providing insights into just how the media works, so that we can all target the information that we send them for best effect.

Today Paul McIntyre from AdNews wrote an article in which he quoted the views of Fairfax Media’s General Manager for News, Darren Burden, who has encouraged Fairfax journalists to think more like PR people.

Intriguing!  Let’s hear more.  Burden assets that the conventional way newspapers approach stories was to break the stories then walk way and let radio and TV take the story on.

That, Burden says, is about to change.  “We need to think more like a PR agency, which shocks people a bit but it’s about when you have a great story and you set the agenda, you don’t walk away from it. Instead you take it and drive it for three days so people understand what the story is about.”

This will be a surprising revelation for many journalists, who although they reportedly source up to 50% or more of their content from PR, and can be critical of publicists, sometimes referring to PR as being the ‘dark side’ of the news.

Burden says journalists need to start driving stories and owning them.  I find this a fascinating insight, and I think it adds much to the commentary about the fuzzy grey line between news and PR, how these industries collaborate, how they compete and how each can learn from the other.

From my experience, working with journalists is a wonderful symbiotic relationship, where, if handled well, everyone wins – the client gets media coverage and the journalist writes a great story.  This is not to say that this interplay is not without its challenges.

To read Darren Burden’s remarks in full, visit the article here.  I would welcome your views on this controversial topic.

Yours in PR

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