The love/hate relationship between reporters and PR people

By Nancy Pavlich

“The Love/Hate Relationship between Reporters and PR People” panelists have been in the media profession for many years. Their discussion took place with questions from Chuck Kaufman, internship coordinator at Texas State, as well as people from the audience.

The relationships between reporters and people in public relations are seen from two sides. They rely on each other to help them do their jobs. Reporters often use PR people to get a story, and PR people use reporters to get a story told.

“There is a reciprocal relationship between the organizations and the reporters, and the PR people are in the middle,” said David McLemore, who most recently worked at the Dallas Morning News.

Another panelist said the relationship between PR practitioners and journalists has changed. “When I was in news media I didn’t go to PR that often,” said Holly Wood, a retired journalist who also worked in public relations. ” I was assigned Hays, Guadalupe, and Comal counties, and they consisted of me going to a lot of meetings. There were not PR people there.”

Now that news staff are being cut at many media outlets, reporters and PR people look to each other even more.

“I think reporters are relatively reliant on PR people, and they become more reliant now that there are more stories and less people to do them,” said Sean Wood, a media specialist at KGBTexas.

Matt Curtis, who works in public relations, agreed. “There are less journalists covering today than there were three years ago, people are scared about losing their jobs.”

The panelists gave advice for students when they graduate. They said it is important to be honest and ethical, to know the media, always be fair and do anything to get a foot in the door.

“Be prepared for dramatic change,” McLemore said. “The old days are gone.”

Photo by Nancy Pavlich

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