Every day there are ethical decisions that impact the hundreds or thousands of people who watch, read, listen, and/or click on a media source. The foundation for making the right decision starts with ethics classes in college. Students in the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism will use this blog to reflect on ethical questions in the media today.
Monday, October 17, 2016
PR and Journalism, the Unlikely Duo
Are public relations and journalism an improbable competition?
I think not. PR is a main contender for the ever-changing
world of journalism, and it fits in quite perfectly.
“At first glance, associating the two words sounds like of
an oxymoron of the worst possible taste, an offense punishable by tarring and
feathering,” said Frederic Filloux of Quartz, which reflects the common
ideas between PR and journalism. He goes on to explain that the newsroom demand
of journalism is declining, while the demand for PR professionals is reaching
an all time high.
In 2013, there were 4.6 public relations specialists for
every news reporter, which has significantly risen from the 3.2 to 1 margin
that was apparent in 2004, nearly a decade earlier. Also, the pay is much more
substantial, with PR professionals earning an average of $54,940 a year,
compared to the $35,600 made by reporters (Bureau of Labor Statistics).
When I was applying for the Scripps School of Journalism
here at Ohio University, I took all these factors into consideration. I loved
writing, that is something I knew, but what is PR and would I like it? That was
what I was unsure of. As I went through freshman year classes, I soon learned
that newsroom journalism was not my calling and that PR was what I should start
Now, as a junior, my liking for marketing and advertising
has risen into something I hope to make a career out of. The idea that what I
produce can sway people into buying my product is a powerful thought that I
enjoy, but also one that comes with great responsibility.
Ethical conduct in a PR company is something that every
professional must abide by to withhold some credibility. "I can’t afford
to lose my credibility … As PR professionals, it’s all we have. And if I lose
my credibility here, it’s not like I can just go start over with someone else,
somewhere else,” a valid point made by a participant in a PR professional study
conducted by Marlene S. Neill, Ph.D., of Baylor.
Credibility is important in every profession, but, when it
comes to journalism and PR, the need for credibility takes precedence over all
other aspects. This is how PR and journalism is connected and why their
stereotype of being oxymoronic should be demolished.
In journalism if you’re not relaying correct information to
your readers, you might as well not have any readers at all. Once a journalist
is proven as untrustworthy, often times there career is over. This goes for PR
professionals as well, even though their mistakes aren’t as easy to play off.
It’s Ethicality that Counts
PR is about persuasion, and if you aren’t taking your job
ethically serious, then you will suffer. Promising that products fit to peoples
needs and wants, especially when they do not, is not something that the buyer of
the products takes lightly. When people are spending their money on your
product and it doesn’t amount to what you said it would in your advertising, then you’re who is going to end up paying the price.
Crisis management is another huge issue when it comes to PR
professionals and the truth, especially when their job is to “cover up” a
scandal or problem. Remaining true to your ethical standards during times of
turmoil proves that you are good at your job and can justly fix things when the
Being ethical, whether it’s in the newsroom or in a PR
setting, should always be at the forefront of your mind when being called to
action. Ethicality will set you apart from your competition and keep your