Through the years, the relationship between PR pros and the media has had some significant changes. Gone are the days of the “three martini lunch” to sell a story idea. Today, journalists and PR people are working off a newly established set of ethics. Both have a common goal of sharing interesting content – which can sometimes lead to tension. Generally, there is a push and pull between the two entities that ideally results in the placement of well-developed content. Although there have been many ups and downs over time, there’s one thing that continues to hold true – the relationship between PR professionals and journalists is a crucial component to success and remains important.
With ongoing staff cuts and complete eliminations of newspapers around the country, there are by far fewer journalists employed by traditional media companies when compared to five, 10 and even 15 years ago. With staff cuts, the ratio of PR professionals to journalists has significantly changed. To put things into perspective, fewer journalists mean that there are fewer opportunities to share story ideas. The competition to get articles placed continues to be fierce, growing as more newspapers fold.
On the other hand, reduced staffs can be beneficial for PR people. Journalists are crunched for time and are more likely to use PR-suggested copy or story ideas to fill content for the 24-hour news cycle. Even though this is true, PR pros must still establish a good relationship with the media. When a better relationship is built, the chances of an email ending up in the Trash or Spam box go down significantly.
The Lines of Communication
Traditionally, the best way to contact someone, including reporters, used to be picking up the phone and making a call. Today, most interactions between PR people and the media occur through email. Even though PR pros can share pitches via Twitter they should think twice. According to the Vocus State of the Media Report 2014, “the majority of journalists still don’t care to be pitched by social media and an overwhelming 90.7 percent of respondents chose email as their preferred method of contact.”