Defending Those “Cozy” Media Relationships

Defending Those “Cozy” Media Relationships

By Bob Geller, Senior Vice President, NY

There are some blog rumblings raising alarms about the “cozy relationships” that apparently exist between PR agents and the media.

As the stories go, PR people and journalists cut deals give over access to info and sources – that compromise objectivity and cloud otherwise fine editorial judgment. This results in shoddy or at least suspect reportage.

It would be amusing if it wasn’t so off base. I think that, if the people who were casually propagating this viewpoint did some real digging, i.e. if they looked beyond the simple storyline and actually spoke with real PR people and journalists, they would get a different viewpoint.

When I consider phrases that characterize how PR and journalists relate, I do not think of the words “cozy relationships.” Adversarial? Often, unfortunately. Friendly? Sure, sometimes. There can be mutual admiration, mutual distrust, and all things in-between.

But cozy? No. At the end of the day, we all have jobs to do. To the extent that we – PR people – can be of help with information that contributes to a good article – i.e., we don’t waste journalists’ time, and they, ours – the relationships by and large work well.

The PR folks that I know do not expect special treatment for information and access to sources. We know all too well that even implying that the reporter’s viewpoint is for sale would surely spell the end of that relationship.

So, no – slaying the PR journalist relationship is not the sure way to pristine news coverage.

Please read Flack’s Revenge for more about this and find links to the offending bloggers.

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