In the book, Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques, chapter 11 explains the importance of media relations. The core activity in many PR jobs is media relations. PR personnel is the key contact between the organization and the media. Ensuring positive relationships with the media is a number one job responsibility for PR staff.
PR professionals and journalists are mutually dependent on each other but 2/3 of journalists do not trust PR professionals. It is vital to know some tactics on how to build trusting and productive relationships with journalists.
The media depends on PR professionals just like PR professionals depend on the media. Most reporters, although they won’t admit, spend a large amount of their time processing information rather than gathering it. According to the book 60% of journalists use press releases all the time or more of the time. Journalists usually code the title PR professionals as spokespeople.
Public relations professionals depend on the media to provide their intended audience with their messages constantly and consistently.
Certain actions compromise the relationships between PR professionals and journalists. On PR professionals side it is usually their use of excessive hype or making themselves nuisances. On the journalists side the relationship is usually compromised by name calling or sloppy/biased reporting. If both PR professionals and journalists use improper advertising influence it will undermine news credibility.
The chapter provides many ways to avoid harming your relationships with journalists. It recognizes areas of friction and some possible ways to fix the problems. By knowing what gets on their nerves and what can be done to help stay on journalists good side problems will be easier to avoid. This chapter should be read and taken seriously because PR is all about building and maintaing relationships and that includes with journalists! It’s simple. Journalists need PR people and PR people need journalists. The relationship should be beneficial for both parties and not about wasting the others time. PR professionals need to do their research before submitting releases to journalists.
The chapter later discusses news conferences which is another way to help build PR professionals relationships with journalists. News conferences provide information to everyone at the same time and allows for questions to be answered immediately. It is important to schedule conferences when it is convenient for the media and to select locations to hold conferences that are convenient for the media. Conferences should be well organized and to establish ground rules for the conduct of the conference. News conferences should be taken advantage of but not overdone. They are beneficial for PR professionals clients and journalists. This is a good tool to utilize when wanting to strengthen relationships with the media.