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Tony Rogers

Understanding the Difference Between PR and Journalism

By February 19, 2013

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Public relations is becoming more powerful and ubiquitous than ever, even as news organizations become weaker due to massive layoffs.

That's why it's critical that journalism students understand the differences between PR and journalism, and appreciate why it's so important for reporters to challenge the messages put out by powerful institutions and individuals.

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What is the Difference Between Public Relations and Journalism?

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February 26, 2013 at 2:51 pm
(1) Don Bates says:

I teach professional public relations writing. I’ve also spent more than 40 years in the PR trenches, in corporations, agencies (one of them my own, which I sold after 10 years), and not-for-profits. I was also a reporter before entering the field. Your advice for young journalists is spot on. Yes, generally speaking PR puts a positive “spin” in what it writes for the press, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t true as far as the facts and the attempt it expresses to impart useful knowledge and information. Where PR stumbles, and as a result too often looks suspiciously untruthful, is when it abuses its philosophical mandate to balance private and public interests. A major cause is the unfortunate tendency among PR writers, young writers in particular, to turn news releases into marketing and sales brochures rather than sticking to the facts and conveying a more accurate, credibile presentation of what’s truly newsworthy and then being available to answer journalist queries about the topic. PR practitioners need to work harder to balance their interests with the interests of journalists without giving away the store. A good starting place is to strip their thinking and writing of exaggeration and hyperbole. Leave that for the marketing department.

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March 28, 2014 at 8:47 pm
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