Handling PR

via capstone.unst.pdx.edu
via capstone.unst.pdx.edu

I don’t care who you are writing for or what you are writing about. Public relations people will find you.

It’s just a matter of time. Some of them will be nice and easy to get along with, while others will be annoying, pestering and fill your inbox until it’s full.

It’s all a part of the job and you have to take it in stride.

The pestering is probably the first thing you might notice.

They’ll call you all the time and e-mail you things you don’t need or already know about. It’s hard to tell people to stop contacting you, but, at some point, you have to entertain the conversation.

If it starts to affect your work, you know you have a serious problem. If you can handle it, then forget I said anything.

Awful story ideas will be pitched to you on a never ending basis. I don’t want to put all of the blame for this on PR people because readers will call in asking you to cover things that you wish you had never heard about.

Being a reporter, the terrible stories will flock to you. It’s actually an easy and quick way to brush up on your news judgement.

It’ll happen more than you think and, as you go through them, you’ll be able to decide what really is news and what you’ll feasibly be able to cover.

From time-to-time, you’ll make a PR person angry. That’s just part of the job.

To them, something won’t be covered enough, while others will be covered too much. You and the paper you work for aren’t perfect. Editors make decisions that are out of your hands. You are just doing your job and you have to stick to it. You cannot cater to public relations. You aren’t writing for them. You are writing for your readers. Plain and simple.

When they get demanding or upset, just show them the door. It’s not worth your time to get bogged down on something that already ran or is out of your hands.

This next one may sound weird, but you also have to work with them. Handling PR is a two-way street. Just like other sources, PR people can be valuable at times. The relationship may be trickier than others, but it’s something to really think about.

When are you going to need this person? What will they be able to tell you in a pinch?

In some ways, you’ll need them as much as they need you. That may be hard to digest, but you made need them to scratch your back.

In return, they may, one day, help scratch yours.

It’s all something to think about.

Jonathan

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