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July 22, 2011
Relating to Journalists: PR Newswire Gets It Right
 
PR Newswire has contributed a helpful statement aimed at strengthening professional relationships between journalists and PR people in the face of The New York Times chastising its columnist, David Pogue, over associating with PR people. The Times relies on responsible PR assistance just like any other paper, and its reporters know the difference.

Arthur Brisbane, the Times public editor and apparently other elements of the paper's management are in an ivory tower of their own creation. Sure, reporters shouldn't get "too cozy" with PR people, or any other sources. But the flow of information depends on "gatekeepers" — media and PR pros — being responsibly helpful to each other, and they know it.

"PR Newswire sits squarely between professional media and public relations practitioners, and media relations has always been important to us," Sarah Skenik, PR Newswire's vice president of  social media, writes. "Our editors help clients polish their press releases, catching mistakes, authenticating sources, adding attribution when needed and refusing copy that doesn’t meet standards. Our audience development and research teams work with news outlets, web portals, journalists, bloggers and freelancers worldwide to ensure they can find and access the content they need, in the manner most convenient for them...."

Sarah polls other PR Newswire staffers on these delicate relationships. "There are not enough journalists in the world to make sure that every story worth telling is told," says Victoria Harres, PR Newswire's director of audience development. That's certainly the case.

Sure, be on guard against malpractice in any quarter, but keep information flowing responsibly, and be professional enough to know the difference. David Pogue is an exuberant guy, but he doesn't strike us as a soft touch. Else, why would The Times have hired him?

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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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