PRs and Journos: Can’t live with them, can’t live without them

With the fallout of the Middlesbrough FC and Gazette dispute still prominent in North East news at the minute, we take a look at the often-frayed relationship between journalists and companies (in particular the Public Relations professionals working within said companies), and why it’s important for both parties to work together harmoniously.

Many often believe that journalists look at PR professionals as a necessary evil and PR pros look at journalists as a means to an end. This isn’t necessarily true, as both professions are two sides of the same coin and both need each other to complete their objectives.

It’s fundamentally important for both to treat each other with respect and to understand the purposes and goals that each side has, so that situations like those with Middlesbrough FC and The Gazette don’t happen again.

Obviously it’s not the first time that a football club and a newspaper have fallen out in the North East. Famously, Newcastle United banned local and national press from reporting on any of the club’s business dealings in October 2013.

This animosity stems from the club’s public relations team not appreciating that journalists have a need to dramatise stories to sell papers. This is something that has been prominent in the press for a very long time.

It’s not a secret that journalists these days have to work to sometimes-unreasonable expectations. The demand on a journalist is astronomical. With 24 hour rolling news, social media, website stories, as well as traditional printed versions there is an ever increasing pressure to deliver. PR pros can use this to their advantage at times but ultimately the situation is beneficial to everyone.

According to comments by Julia Hobsbawm in The Guardian, 80% of news and business stories emanate from public relations sources. This is a huge number and it’s no surprise that PR pros use this necessity of constant demand for stories to achieve their goals and journalists use PR to give them the edge over other journalists.

If these two parties continue to put aside any perceived conflicts between one another and begin to understand they can work together, then work can begin to move forward together. If PR pros take time to understand the needs of a journalist and visa versa, then the future of PR and Journalism can, and will be, forever intertwined.