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Chapter 11

Posted in Reading Notes by Maggie on July 1, 2010

This information is found in PUBLIC RELATION WRITING AND MEDIA TECHNIQUES, 6th edition, by Dennis L. Wilcox

Chapter 11: Getting Along with Journalists

Media relations is often thought of as one of the most important job responsibilities of a public relations practitioner.   In order for our stories and information to be read by audiences, the journalists must agree to print them; this is the foundation of the importance for PR professionals to get along with journalists.  The relationship works both ways- the media is dependant on public relation professionals, and public relations people are dependant on the media.

Here are several areas of friction that every PR practitioner should try to avoid when it comes to working with journalists:

  • Hype and news release spam
  • Name calling
  • Sloppy reporting
  • Tabloid journalism
  • Advertising influence

Public relations professionals should always try to maintain a respectful and solid working relationship with journalists.  The textbook suggests that we should always be prepared and ready for media interviews and gives tips on how to do so.  News conferences, teleconferences and webcasts should be given the same preparation.  Media tours are aimed to generate news coverage for the client or employer and to build relationships among an organization and it’s public. 

When working with media relations, take note of the following:

  • Know your media!
  • Limit mailings
  • Localize
  • Send only newsworthy information
  • Practice, practice, practice good writing
  • Avoid gimmicks
  • Be available
  • Answer your phone
  • Be truthful
  • Answer questions with one of the three acceptable answers found in the book
  • Be fair
  • Explain
  • Praise good work
  • Correct errors politely

It is important for PR professionals to use proper and polite media etiquette.  Crisis communication is a test of excellent media relations. It’s important to have a healthy and positive relationship with media, especially in a crisis.

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