Do some journalists think PROs are stupid?
31st May 2013
In my PR job, as I spend so much time hitting out at everyone else, I feel it’s only fair that I take a few on the chin myself. But sometimes the lack of respect for our profession drives me nuts. Not from clients, although some of them undervalue us, but from journalists.
When I am not ranting about the inadequacies of my fellow PROs and those we serve, downloading films on Torrent, drinking chai, etc, I occasionally do some work. And some of this (too much, in fact) is writing press releases. I wrote one yesterday, and it wasn‘t too shoddy. Short, pithy, and the client came across very well. Maybe too well. Because although my contact details were clearly given at the end, one journalist thought it would be much cleverer to hunt down the client mentioned and contact them directly, asking them for more information and a picture.
I’m not one to guard my clients, but this one was employing me to deal with the press so that he didn‘t have to. So the journalist calling made him cross with me as well as the journo wasting his time. But that I don‘t mind. What winds me up is the journalist’s arrogance. They obviously felt that contacting the PRO would be the same as speaking to the monkey rather than the organ grinder. Why do some journos think that a PRO cannot be of any use to them? If they think we’re so useless, then they must also think our clients are stupid to employ us.
It is not all journalists who act this way. Some of my best friends are journos (though not sure they’d all say the same about me!). But have you ever gone out for a drink with a bunch of journalists who decide to talk about what they think of PR people? It can be bloody. Although they all claim that the PROs they are talking about are nothing like you, it is clear that many of them think that what PR people lack in intelligence they make up for in conceit. But how often have you dared tell journalists about how crap many of their colleagues are?
Let’s face it. Journalists think they’re better than us, and I suspect that a few PROs secretly agree with them.
I have said before that we need to stand up and be proud of what we do, and I say it again. We should stand up for our PR jobs. PR is given a bad press! And you know you shouldn’t believe everything you read in the papers. Or online for that matter.