Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Commentary: Subject to Change: Advice to a Young PR Exec

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Commentary: Subject to Change: Advice to a Young PR Exec

Article excerpt

In the world of magazines and newspapers (and probably TV, too), many relationships can take on a tense nature in the name of purity and professionalism. The best of these relationships use the push- pull of differing objectives to create a better result. This natural tension doesn't require a throw-down in the office hallway; au contraire, it can be a beautiful partnership. But it does require routine communication about territory, standards, objectives, ideals and needs.

For more than 16 years, I've watched or been a part of the dynamic between editor and art director ("What's wrong with this page?"), editor and publisher ("What impact, positive or negative, is the editorial having on our numbers?"), editor and ad director ("Can we still be friends?"), and certainly, today's subject, editor and PR executive ("Boy, do I have a great story for you!"). Here again, a smattering of advice, by no means complete.

Friendship First: Once a PR manager has made the decision that his job is a career and not a way station, then he should set about forging trustworthy relationships with the "buyer." In a small market like Oklahoma, there is no reason an established PR manager shouldn't have at least a few professional friendships with journalists. Don't be content just to socialize with your own kind. Savvy public relations figures understand that good business is more than "placing" a story - it's about being a resource. (Besides, journalists are such a proud lot that they will never cop to being sold such a story in the first place.) There is a time and place for a respectable back-and-forth between editor or reporter and PR pro, but only one that the reader can trust.

Never Offer to Write the Article: That I must even say this speaks to what remains, for me, the most mystifying failure of understanding between an editor and a PR professional. Routinely, established PR folks in Oklahoma will offer to write articles about the company or client they work for. Can you imagine an article about Chesapeake Energy in Newsweek or the New York Times written by its chief of corporate communications? …

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