Public Relations officers are smart.
They know exactly what journalists need, and they love to spoon feed them.
Journalists are sifting out which, of many competing voices, are sufficiently important to deserve space in a story and in what order they should be used. An experienced general reporter on a national newspaper will get 50 or 60 emails each day, most from PR companies. Philips (2010) found that ’41 per cent of press articles contain PR materials which play an agenda setting role of where PR material makes up the bulk of the story.’
In the day-to-day world of journalism, every single major public announcement can be classified as ‘PR’ and every organisation wishing to address journalists will use public relations techniques. “PR is working harder and smarter, while journalists are working dumber and faster… all of it under the constant background duress of failing businesses and falling newsroom numbers” (Green, 2009).
A prime example of this is a recent phenomenon of pre-packaged journalism. PR companies are producing pre-packaged media releases which just make the journalists job of ‘copy and pasting’ so much more tempting easier. “These products deliver edited sound bites, interviews and footage straight to the journalist’s desk, in a conceptually complete pre-package “(Kwan, 2010). There are also interactive media releases on a website with audio and video content available.
So all the journalist needs to do is… DOWNLOAD! And an array of resource is laid out in front of them for their choosing. Some might say for their cut and pasting into newly fashioned news items.
Just to finish off, an interesting segment on Media Watch about just this – a catchy tune as well!
You can access the video from ABC’s Media Watch website “Let’s play the Echo game!”
I can’t believe we’re excusing this!
“What will die with them is the tradition of investigative, independent, curious reporting. Dying the death of several hundred cuts over many, many years” (Green, 2009)
- Phillips, A., 2010, “Old Sources – New Bottles”, in Fenton, N., (ed.) New Media, Old News – Journalism and Democracy in the Digital Age, Sage, London
- Kwan, B. (2010). “Spinning the Media: Pre-packaged journalism: just download!” Last accessed October 13, 2010. <http://www.crikey.com.au/2010/03/25/spinning-the-media-pre-packaged-journalism-just-download/>
- Green, J. (2009). “Message to PR flacks: You win”. Last accessed October 13, 2010. < http://www.crikey.com.au/2009/05/14/message-to-pr-flacks-you-win/>