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April 1, 2010
Cooperating More, Not Merging

"Reality" is a windshield-clearing sort of word and Canada Newswire (CNW) uses it deftly to describe the changing relationships between journalists and PR people.

"The reality of Canada's new newsrooms -- shrinking staff and the increased importance of social media -- means more journalists may be relying on public relations than ever before, according to results from the 2010 PR Week/PRNewswire Media Survey."

 In other words, journalism and public relations are to some degree converging in function. Well, maybe not so much in function as in working relationships. 

Not surprisingly, reporters and editors don't seem to be acknowledging what is plainly occurring, according to CNW's release. 

"While journalists admit a slight increase in frequency of interaction with PR professionals," says CNW, "most report there is little change in the frequency of their reaching out to PR professionals for assistance. Contrary to this finding, just over one-third of PR professionals in both countries (Canada and the U.S.) say they are receiving more proactive inquiries from journalists than in the past."

It stands to reason, busy, overtaxed  journalists need all the help they can get.

"Canadian journalists," CNW continues, "report filing an increased number of stories per day (ranging from one to three) and are expected to contribute to online news sites, blogs and Twitter feeds. Filing stories across mobile devices is not yet a requirement, as reported by 85 per cent of journalists in the study."

It's a whirlwind out there. Who wouldn't need more help in holding down the franchise?

The increasing emphasis now is not just on breaking news, but reporting events as they happen. (Twenty percent of Canadian journalists are in this category)

"Heavier workloads, shorter deadlines, and increased competition are causing journalists to seek out new sources of information to help them get their jobs done, including social networks," said Erica Iacono, executive editor of PRWeek. "Though these new tools offer a different way for journalists to interact with PR professionals and media consumers, there must still be a focus on the basic tenets of good journalism."

Hence the new journalism/PR reality -- not convergence but growing cooperation. 



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Doug Bedell has a background in journalism and PR and is the owner of Resource Relations LLC in Central PA, focusing on organizational and crisis communication. He’s the community manager of SimplyFair.net, a social network on fairness. On the Web, Doug’s at www.ResourceRelations.com. On Twitter, he’s @DougBeetle.
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