Why do some PRs hate journalists?

Some PRs seem to dislike journalists for suggesting that their main role is media relations

I know that hacks can be irritating. We moan about irrelevant press releases. We moan about being called on deadline. And we moan about PRs who ‘gift’ a story to a rival publication, ring to feign ignorance on its source and then enquire if we will be following up said ‘scoop’.

There is, however, a consistency to our moaning. We’re simple creatures. We don’t moan if a PR has been super helpful, calls back when they said they would, and is armed with relevant information and insight. Why would we?

But agency PRs regularly moan on Twitter that journalists don’t appreciate them. We’re rude. We’re impatient. We delete releases without even waiting for the call to check that we received them. And, worse than that, we have the audacity to think that all they do is media relations when they do so much more than that. (Do I hear violins playing?)

Yes, it seems that everybody now is ‘strategic’, or – don’t get me started! – an ESG specialist and even a ‘board adviser’, in fact, anything other than a media relations specialist.

And yet, these are the same PRs who tweet oodles of delight when their release for a client receives blanket media coverage. Or indeed any coverage. As for when they achieve coverage for their own agency? The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Royal Gun Salute has nothing on that tweeting hysteria. I’d call this behaviour schizophrenic if I could only spell the word.

You don’t hear PRs working in-house complain in the same way. Admittedly, they may grumble about calls at unsocial hours or a hack who will not accept that their ‘scoop’ is, in fact, poop. But they don’t believe it is ‘beneath them’ to deal with journalists and, in fact, relish the chance to tell their story or elaborate on their recent press release.

They understand the value, and power, of the media. They nourish and sustain journalist relationships so that, when their stories appear, they aren’t so excited that they feel the need to tweet about it. Oh, and they manage all that while offering real strategic insight to the board and other senior executives.

There is nothing wrong with being viewed as an expert in media relations. In fact, the journalist-PR relationship would be far more harmonious if there were some more experts out there. To help with this ambition, CorpComms Magazine has partnered with media intelligence agency Unicepta to create the A to Z of media relations, which kicks off today with A for Availability.