Tuesday, May 03, 2011
This story is interesting in that it alleges PR is growing while traditional journalism is shrinking. It sees danger in that because PR people cannot be trusted to impart information objectively. Nothing cited in the story is new. PR has been involved in all the activities mentioned for decades. It is a matter of degree. The story acknowledges that nontraditional reporting is taking the place of traditional journalism (The Twitter announcement of the death of Osama bin Laden, for example.) What it fails to understand is that PR people are more concerned about nontraditional reporting than traditional media. Amateur reporters do not understand the need for multiple sources, for accuracy and for getting a story right. They report rumor, falsehood and slander equally, and for that reason, they make the life of PR practitioners more difficult. PR practitioners worry about the decline of traditional media because their jobs are harder now, and they don't know from where stories and rumors start. Before the internet, one could phone a reporter and supply facts that clarified an event or statement. One could build a relationship of trust over time by dealing with a reporter evenhandedly. Since the internet, PR has become fire fighting. The old days were better when PR practitioners could count the media they needed to worry about on two hands. Now, media sources are a hydra-headed monster.