Do a Google search for “what journalists hate about PR people” and you’ll generate hundreds, if not thousands of results. Unfortunately, there are some bad apples in both professions that fuel this notion, but the good ones on both sides know better.
The journalists who consistently get the exclusives, get the first interviews, get the access no one else does, are the ones who value their sources and consistently nurture those relationships before, during, and long after they need them.
When it comes to access, it’s almost always the PR people who make the decisions. And PR people, like most people, prefer to work and take care of, individuals they know, trust and respect. In a crisis situation, these factors are critical. Who ultimately gets access will be determined by a variety of strategic considerations, but who doesn’t get access is usually a pretty easy call:
- Journalists who have disregarded print embargoes or published off the record material
- Journalists who haven’t done their homework
- Journalists who consistently ignore pitches and only call when they need something
- Journalists who have tried to go around us to get to our clients
- Journalists who have written inaccurate stories about our clients because they made no effort to fact check or call us for information
- Journalists who have been given an exclusive before and squandered it with a poorly written story
None of it is personal, it’s just business. And any good business relationship is a strategic alliance characterized by necessity and reciprocity. PR people and media need each other. PR people build their businesses on the backs of media relationships and journalists rely on PR people to help land sought after exclusives and gain the access they need. When that mutual understanding exists and is treated with respect, everybody wins.