The PR practitioner/journalist relationship is a topic of scholarly research as well as discussion on blogs, Twitter chats (see #muckedup, #journchat, #RaganSocial), and websites on the field of public relations. For PRs at the centre of these discussions, lies the question: what do journalists want?
One would think that this is easy to answer: they are looking for a story; something that is unique, that captures human interest and that speaks to their audience.
However, it is not as simple as that. In a digital world, journalists are inundated with countless cookie-cutter press releases and pitches every day, and now receive them from multiple channels: email, Twitter, DMs, Facebook, telephone, etc. They are working in a 24-hour news cycle where content is king. Studies and consultants recognize the importance of rich content such as images, video, infographics and opinions to support stories.
How can PR pros break through the clutter? How do we avoid becoming that “annoying flack” that journalists want to ignore?
My daily interactions with journalists, a great deal of reading on PR blogs and sites and some pitching successes and failures have allowed me to gain a better understanding of what journalists are looking for from PR practitioners; however, it has also made me realize that there is no one recipe for success.
The changes this dynamic is experiencing with the advent of social media and the shifts in contemporary newsrooms continue to fascinate me, which is why I am doing my MA thesis on how to optimize the journalist/PR practitioner relationship in the digital era. My objective is to aggregate literature on this topic and conduct interviews with journalists in order to determine which practices could lead to mutually satisfying relationships. Whew!
My research (so far) in a nutshell…
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