1. The question for the essay is “Journalism and Public Relations: Symbiosis or Parasitosis? ” Journalists and Public Relations (PR) practitioners interact with each other everyday as part of the process of news production. Journalists communicate towards public relations practitioners with requests for information or material to help produce the stories they are writing. While public relations practitioners advise stories and deliver journalists with information they have created themselves in hope to be published in the newspaper.
The relationship between journalists and public relations practitioners is, and has always been, complicated. The relationship between these two is one of mutually dependency if not symbiotic, but also ambivalent if not hostile. This ambiguous relationship has arisen due to the misconception of the outlook and the values of each profession. Shin and Cameron (2004) deem both parties bring conflict to the relationship through the nature of their roles and goals, and the values, attitudes and views they hold of each other (Callard, 2011).
Journalist perception on public relations practitioners has a negative connotation to it, often troubled by the often about the levels of ‘information subsidy’ (Gandy, 1982) in the context of the way in which public relations material is able to shape the news by providing information that enables them to conform to there own agenda. Whereas public relations are concerned with the misunderstood perspective journalists have upon the role that public relations play. (Charron, 1989) Journalists are said to strive for objectivity, fairness, accuracy, and balance, and do not withhold information, hide or advocate for particular agendas, or act unethically (Belz, Talbot, & Starck, 1989). Public relations is regarded as more subjective, serving the interests of the client first and foremost’ (White & Hobsbawm, 2007) Although the tensions between the to industries may be strained, this is a relationship based on need n order for each other to succeed, whether each of them will admit it. . Even though they may have differences, both professions have the similar objectives created around there public. The main intention of journalism profession is to provide it public with accurate, reliable trustworthy information to the general public. Public relations objective is to influence a certain target public, intended to influence the opinion of this audience to promote an individual or organisation that the firm is looking after.
The ‘adversarial relationship’ between the two professions is commonly viewed as journalists being the gatekeepers who serve the public through offering them ‘a window to the world’ (Singer, 1998) and public relations practitioners subsequent the ‘press-agentry’ model (Grunig and Hunt 1984) where the purpose of the practitioner is to expand publicity for their particular organisation through controlled ‘information dissemination’. But in an ever-competing world the tables have begun to turn, with journalist not being as pure as they make out to be.
Journalists have a responsibility to an unspoken ethical code to produce stories of truth and reliability, as journalists are the source between the public and it knowledge of news information. Foxification as well as the news of the world scandal has tampered the perception of trust worthy journalism. Foxification was the misrepresentations of facts to the public by the fox network for the purpose of perpetuation their prejudiced conservative agenda and profit gain.
Which was the same found with the news of the world scandal early last year, where unethical conduct in order to gain profit. So the foundation of apprehensive that journalism has on public relations becomes unjustified. The central elements to the functioning amongst journalist’s and public relations relationship is the subject of access to information. In an era where news is produced and consumed as fast as possible, the Internet has provided media with a new platform to serve its publics with the most up-to-date news. But evidently this no longer means that journalists have he day to write a story for the next day’s paper, journalist are looking at having to produce any where between 6-10 stories every time they enter the newsroom. 3. In March 2010 10 hard-copy news papers where analyised on Australia news and commentary website Crikey and the Independent journalism which concluded that nearly 55% of the stories discover were driven by some sort of public relations influence. The requirement of journalists doing more with less has insured the relationship between the two professions is securely bound together fostering a dependence on PR practitioners and their public relations materials.
It is this demand placed upon each profession, which has manufactured what we now know as ‘churnalism’ the practice of journalists churning through press releases to manufacture news content as quick as possible the reader. Journalists are being asked to do more with less resources . . . forcing them to rely more and more on information from public relations practitioners . . . they are being forced increasingly into reactive, passive positions rather than pursuing their own investigations. (Gower, 2007, p. 2-3) Churnalism. om invites people to paste press releases on to the site and compare the copy with more than three million articles published by national newspaper websites, the BBC or Sky News since 2008. The site then offers a percentage score indicating how much of the release was copied and pasted by journalists. One of the founders of the Churnalism site Chris Atkins produced a fake press release about a “chastity garter” containing a micro-chip which would send a text message to the woman’s partner communicating of the partner was about to be unfaithful, to show how influential public relations press on the content of journalists stories.
The story became the most read story on the Daily Mail’s website for that particular day. And was then repeated by many media outlets including that of a USA morning television show. This example just highlight the extent to how much journalist rely on the content that public relations practitioners have provided them with in order to produce stories. But this also placed an ethical responsibility upon public relations to produce press 4. releases, which are truthful as public relations practitioners rely on journalist to use these to promote their organisation.
In the case of both public relations and journalism the related notions of trust and truth are central to their professional activities. The importance in creating a strong trustworthy relationship with journalist even more crucial to public relations practitioners as this is their main source of contact with their target publics. Public relations agencies aim to build an ongoing relationships with journalists as the better relationships they can build, the more influence they can exert on the media.
A journalist is more likely to pay attention to a press release that’s timely, from a known source and targeted to the specific journalist’s need. So it is a public relations practitioner job to make sure they know and understand the style and sought stories each journalist would report on, making it more likely for their press release to be picked up. Making it crucial to insure that the press releases are informative and truthful.
Public Relations practitioners will offer journalists media kits, face-to-face meeting and invite them to private lunches and launches gaining an exclusive scoop to create a goodwill relationship between the two parties. But as public relations is the primary contact between organisations and the media, public relations people can control the access to information given to journalist, enabling them tremendous lead way in negotiating with journalists. It’s a bit of you scratch my back I will scratch your back type on partnership. In today’s world, public relations and journalists go hand in hand.
Journalists and public relations practitioners play distinct roles in their individual professions. On a whole public relations and journalism work together in order to achieve the same ultimate goal. Approaches may be different but both professions are mutually dependent upon one another and as well as one of symbiotic. In order to move forward with media coverage, both journalism and public relations need become accustom to the presents of each profession as by accepting what each party has to offer allows both industries to get ahead.
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