Public relations practitioners are often thought to be, or in some measure even required to be, spin doctors. This refers to someone who publicizes favourable interpretations of the words and actions of corporations and other public figures. The relationship between public relations and journalism is increasingly coming under scrutiny with the changing media scene.
As quoted by Nic Paton from the Guardian:
“Most journalists will have taken the PR shilling at some point in their career… Most of the time it is a straightforward love-hate relationship…To the journalist, the PR is a necessary evil. And the PR is willing to suffer all that talk about integrity and independence as long as it gets the client those valuable column inches.”
The common denominator of both professional lies in their function to manage information. The relationship of who wields more power can be likened to two kids playing on a see-saw. Depending on the types of news, ability of the information holder and seeker, and respective bosses’ deadlines, both parties inevitably need one another. The ratio of PR people to “pitchable” journalists, however, is now estimated at 4 to 1 (Forbes, 2013).
Thus we can see that the PR-journalism relationship is not permanently ironed out yet. In this mercilessly changing environment, these two trades will have to adapt accordingly and play frienemies.
Forbes (2013, March 14). The Journalist And The PR Pro: A Broken Marriage? – Forbes. Retrieved July 3, 2013, from http://www.forbes.com/sites/peterhimler/2013/03/14/the-journalist-the-pr-pro-a-broken-marriage
Paton, N. (2001, Oct 22). When is a story not a story? The Guardian. Retrieved from http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2001/oct/22/mondaymediasection5