Last week, I wrote a piece for Ragan’s PR Daily about the relationship between PR pros and reporters—while many see it as adversarial, I’ve often had a different experience, so I wrote about some ways to foster good relations with reporters:
“Can PR pros and reporters be friendly?” https://www.prdaily.com/Main/Articles/18779.aspx
Then, just after my piece was published, I saw this piece:
“Journalists still think PR pros are liars”: https://www.prdaily.com/mediarelations/Articles/18789.aspx
This was based on a study, “The D S Simon Media Influencers Report,” which claims a majority of reporters feel that a PR practitioner has lied to them. A majority. Hmmmm…. While this doesn’t come as a complete surprise, it seems somewhat hard to believe that the issue is this widespread. There’s commentary on the piece that says regardless of any study, PR pros understand this is the perception—and that sometimes, the perception is, in fact, reality, as PR folks will lie to save their jobs.
Maybe it’s me being naive, but PR practitioners should not—and do not need to—lie. Maybe those in corporate roles feel this pressure, but having been on that side of the fence prior to striking out on my own, I’ve never felt the need to lie to a reporter. After all, as my mother (and probably your mom!) always said, when we lie, they find out the truth anyway. If you work in a situation where you feel you need to lie to protect your job, perhaps it’s time to move on.
Being genuine and transparent in any situation is generally going to get your further, so if you approach media relations with the attitude of honestly wanting to help reporters share the story of your client or organization and giving them the resources to do that, that’s at the heart of it. Anything less, and you may be lumped in with the crowd of PR practitioners the media would prefer not to deal with.