Today I was catching up with the latest PR news on PRdaily.com and came across an interesting story entitled, “5 bad PR practices that will frusturate journalists.”
Since PR practitioners work hand in hand with journalists and want to get their stories into the media they need to keep a healthy relationship with them so this article immediately intrigued me.
The author who gives message and media training sessions uses an example of a time a PR practitioner gave him false information on something that was pretty important. The author, who was a journalist, explains that he was calling the PR practitioner to get information on an avalanche that had blocked main highways and ski resorts. He wanted to get a quote from a PR practitioner who was working for one of the resorts and was shocked when the practitioner told him the avalanche was not having an impact. Immediately after talking with him the journalist saw a story on television from the same skiing area where traffic was being directed to turn around. Obviously the journalist had been lied to.
When I read this I could not believe that PR practitioner would put himself into that situation. Not only was it unethical to provide false information but why would he want to be telling potential customers to come that way when they would just be sent home by traffic control? If the journalist would not have caught the story on the television it could have possibly ruined not only the PR practitioner’s reputation but the journalists as well. This is something that we are taught at the very beginning of PR classes so how this professional thought it was a good idea to lie is beyond me.
The article goes on to explain all the mistakes PR professionals could make when giving journalists ideas. The mistakes will hinder the relationship with the journalists which will end up hurting the PR practitioner even more in the end.
The list of mistakes includes
1) Sending out a media release and then not having a spokesperson ready or able to discuss it. 2) Spinning the news which is disguising bad news with one piece of good news even if it is not related. 3) Lying which is what the practitioner did about the ski resort. 4) Not doing research first to follow up and make sure the story or idea has already ran in the media outlet. 5) Pitching story to two or more reporters at the same publication without knowledge of either one because they will find out.
These all need to be avoided by PR practitioners because maintaining good relationships with journalists is vital for your career. It is not worth hurting a beneficial relationship and these common sense mistakes should be avoided. Not only are these common sense mistakes but they are all also unethical and should not be taken lightly by journalists or by your boss if you make them. We all need to remember that an important element of PR is maintaining relationships and we should not worth burning bridges with people that can benefit us in the future.