(Image found in a Google search.)
An article on PR News Blog popped up on my Facebook today and I felt like it was worth commenting on.
The post talked about a recent story for the New York times addressing the use of quotes in journalism and whether or not PR is interfering with the accuracy of these quotes. The author, David Carr, argues that quote approval goes directly to the PR representatives of a company, who quickly smooth it over and spin it to be in their favor.
First of all, this is assuming that all journalist have a pristine understanding of the people they talk to and never mess anything up. False. Not to drag on journalism, but it’s hard to move a quote out of context in general and retain it’s true meaning. I know this from my own journalistic experiences, as well as complaints from people who have been quoted in papers before.
Verifying the conditions of a quote is extremely important.
Carr’s makes the argument that “a great quotation, the kind that PR folks love to rub out, in my experience, can make an article sing or the truth resonate.”
I totally understand what he is trying to say, having a company censor and spin their own quotes can certainly twist the truth. However, as PR news points out, I fully believe that this should not be the purpose of PR.
As PR News points out, “there should always be a mutual understanding among a journalist and source that, in an interview, two people with very different jobs (and end goals) are just talking to one another and what’s spoken by the source is true and what is published by the media is accurate.”
I recently edited my resume objective to state the following:
“To use public relations writing, design and research to more effectively communicate with stakeholders and the general public, resulting in an improved understanding of a company’s goals and values. In addition, to achieve the company’s marketing goals through campaigns and resulting analysis.”
This is the image of PR that I believe we need to build on, improved understanding. It does need to be recognized that marketing is an overall goal of any business, but that does not mean that the company only speaks in cryptic lies. Truth and accuracy need to be a main goal of any PR office, and hopefully someday we can improve the trust with our journalists.
(Also, in regards to the above picture: There are plenty of things PR people don’t want journalists to print because they misrepresent a company due to inaccuracy… not necessarily deep, dark secrets. Plus, why does the news always have to be gloomy? )