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In response to: PR and the press: it’s over, but let’s still be friends!

I have been in the UAE for two years. For the past year and six months I have been working in PR and so far I enjoy it.

However, ever since I started I couldn’t help noticing that weird love/hate relationship between media and PR here. So many times I have read and heard journalists talking about how the PR industry is woeful and PR people are a mere hindrance to them. I kept quiet till I read today’s article in The National.

I really liked it when Tala was talking about the ethics of journalism and said “some of us...” I liked how she acknowledged that some journalists understand true journalism and others don’t. I just wish that she did the same talking about PR because, believe it or not, there are good PR people out there just as there are bad ones. I really don’t think that Tala met or dealt with every single PR person here.

I agree that PR shouldn’t be the journalist’s only source of information. But why not be one of many? I know my client’s business better than anyone, I know what they are doing, products they are launching, events they are holding, conferences they are attending …etc. So why couldn’t I be simply the source who informs you of that. If the story interests you then great if not so what’s the harm? As a journalist you follow the leads you have and see which one gets you the story, right?

True that my loyalty as a PR person is to my client but that doesn’t mean my job is to trick people/ media into believing wrong things or hide truth from them. I remember that the first thing I learnt in PR was to always stick to facts and if anything went wrong with my clients not to try and hide the truth because it always finds its way out, instead deal with it. So, stick to fact and don’t lie, does this sound like bad PR?

When I pick up the call to see why you didn’t cover a story, something I have done on some occasions, I simply want to know your opinion because I have seen you cover similar topics or ones related to the story I have shared with you. So, I simply want to discuss it with you and understand your point of view so in the future I would spare you the extra e-mail in your inbox, does this offer of a dialogue sound like bad PR?

When I send out a release I don’t expect you to take it as it is and publish it now, if it interests you, you could tackle it your own way, seek more info, compare the info I gave you with other resources. I don’t want you to take it just for granted. Does this sound like bad PR?

Honestly I think my only problem with today’s article was that Tala accused all PR people of being “too demanding, too clingy” and that “they are usually hired to burnish a client’s reputation, to enhance the client’s image, to “make them look good”.

I know that there is good PR and bad PR just as there is good journalism and bad journalism. I don’t think it is fair to generalize things in our life; I never did and never will.


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