Times tech writer disses PR people (hmm, apparently spell check doesn’t do “disses.” Is it because I’ve spelled the word wrong, or just because it’s trying to save me from using a word no one should ever use outside of 1996?).
This leads to PR bashing in the comments section, followed by much PR support. Outside of communication circles, this might not be known, but journalists and PR people often hate each other. When I was a reporter, there was not much I loathed more than PR people.•••
Reporter: “Can I speak to someone who knows something, anything, about the topic at hand?”
PR Person: “No, you are only allowed to speak to me.”
Reporter: “Can I set up an interview with so-and-so who might actually be able to answer my question?”
PR Person: “Okay, but it has to go through me, and it will take me precisely 37 days to set it up.”
Reporter: “But I have a 5 p.m. deadline.”
PR Person: Laughs in reporter’s face.
Reporter: Hi, I’m so glad I got you on the phone, Mr. or Mrs. someone who can actually answer my questions.
Mr. or Mrs. Someone: Um, yeah, but I can’t talk to you until I clear it with PR Person.
Actually, there were several very awesome PR people I dealt with on a regular basis. It’s just that the majority of them seemed to be all about preventing actual interviewing from ever taking place. Yet, for reasons unknown, I switched to the dark side and am now in what is, essentially, a public relations program.
What’s the point of all this? Well, I think commenter JK summed it up nicely:
What’s the lesson for reporters? Know exactly why you are jaded. It’s not the PR people. It’s your deadline pressure, your poor pay and your poor prospects for making significant money anytime in the near future. It’s your career choice that’s making you crabby.
One more thing: Be nice to PR people. You might want to be one some day.
••• I have since learned that what I’m actually talking about are media relations people, which is only one small facet of what public relations practitioners might or can do overall.