Public relations professionals do double duty every day, and it can be a dilemma, says Cindy Leggett Flynn, managing partner of Brunswick Group, speaking on a panel dealing with journalists’ relationships with PR.
Leggett Flynn said they have to be gatekeepers of their clients’ information as well as try to be forthcoming with journalists.
How should the risks be managed? Leggett Flynn said the most vital point was to give clients the full picture of PR-journalist relationships when “unwanted” news gets out.
Honesty – which Leggett Flynn calls “currency” – is an important element of media work.
It’s a two-way relationship. Journalists who constantly doubt the validity of PR officers can also antagonize the dynamics, Leggett Flynn added.
Susan Field, the CEO and founder of ImpactAsia in Hong Kong, was optimistic that PR and journalists can collaborate in business sector.
Field used Yorkshire tourism as an example. The region invited 20 Chinese journalists and received a lot of coverage. Yorkshire gained a 22% increase in the number of tourists after.
Tamora Leonard, the vice-president of APCO Worldwide, emphasized cooperation.
“PR officers should walk in the shoes of journalists,” said Leonard.
She stressed that PR must be aware that the content must be interesting enough for journalists and their audiences.
But she had this tip for journalists: “Treat your PR people well.”
Leonard hoped journalists were aware of the complexity of the “story”(press release) instead of simply reproducing them in news packages.
Three PR giants also discussed about situation of PR and journalists in China. They expressed concerns about pressure on them by the government but felt optimistic about the recent improvements.