We’ve all seen the disparaging tweets and snide blogs that journalists casually let fly about PR pros, and sometimes that scorn is earned. There are definitely people in public relations who are clumsy, clueless and waste the media’s time. But that’s not the majority of us, so we shouldn’t all be painted with the same brush.
All you have to do is search Google for “bad press release” and you’ll find plentiful examples of PR gone wrong. What journalists need to remember is for every irrelevant or poorly-written pitch they receive, there are many others that are on-target (even if the timing doesn’t always fit into their editorial schedule) and handled professionally. PR continues to exist because it works, and journalists would have to do a lot more work themselves to find sources and stories without the help of public relations.
And the role of public relations professional has only grown over time. As Molly points out, budgets have decreased for staff at many media outlets, and for that reason PR people are often filling in the gap by creating story ideas, helping produce local news segments and providing content including multimedia. Molly even apparently writes for certain journalists, although that’s probably not the norm.
And as she also points out, PR pros aren’t in it for glamour. On the average, salaries in the biz are not particularly high and we’re not the ones who get the glory when a story takes off (apart from the appreciation of our clients, which is glory enough for the majority of us). Molly explains:
Let’s be clear: we’re not doing this for the caviar or the Loubotins. We do it because we love it. PR professionals often work eight, nine, or ten hour days and then have to attend events and networking functions at night. That means that some entry-level employees end up making much less than minimum wage. Just like a journalist, I do this because I love being involved with the media. I love helping my clients raise awareness and sell more products and services, enabling them to fuel the economy and employ more people.