The next chapter to be discussed in my PR class is one over media relations. This chapter made two distinct points: relationships are important and we can’t control the media.
I’ve personally never had to deal with the media except in the form of consuming it, so I don’t have any personal stories. I do know, based on what I’ve seen that the media, social media included, is powerful in our society. It isn’t even just journalists at this point. Anyone who has anything to say, can, regardless of truth. That makes cultivating relationships with journalists even more important, because the public inherently trusts them more because they expect them to be more credible. Even in the event of some scandal, journalists with whom there is a prior relationship might be more willing to listen to both sides of the story before writing it. The book mentions respecting journalists. That means respecting their deadlines and their code of ethics. I think respect goes a long way with everyone. For journalists, in regard to their deadlines, that means getting back to them in a timely matter, not when it’s convenient. In regard to their ethics, showering them with gifts, even inexpensive ones, isn’t fair. It takes away their ability to be objective and could hurt their credibility.
It’s important to note that no one can actually control the media directly. I can control what shows up on my personal Facebook page, but I can’t control all the things that come up tied to my name if you Googled it, or did a more in-depth search of my Internet persona. The same goes with companies. They can control the information they post on their Facebook or Twitter, but that doesn’t stop a disgruntled customer from doing the same about his or her experience. And if a scandal breaks, you shouldn’t just ask reporters to not report. That’s their job. But offering them your side of the story could help, and now we’re back to the importance of relationships.
Many of my lower level courses overlap with journalism majors and it makes sense. Public relations people work closely with the people in the media.