Monday, October 17, 2016

PR and Journalism, the Unlikely Duo

Blake Schenerlein

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 exploring.

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.


Being Credible

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 time comes.

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 audience loyal.

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