As public relations specialists, we pride ourselves in getting as much earned media for our clients as possible. Our work is primarily tailored around truthfully telling our clients’ accomplishments and success stories, as well as representing them during a time of crisis. Public relations helps each company discover stories that are unique and that correspond with the overall identity of that company. Different than advertising, public relations allows the researched publics gain an understanding about each client in conjunction with their identities and missions, which is why public relations professionals spend most of their time developing story ideas that have not been noticed or reported.
PR professionals within the agency arena are not only responsible for finding the news, but are responsible for knowing the newsmakers in nearly every field imaginable. It is not our responsibility to offer news that is a mere blip on the media’s radar, but to deliver good, reliable, solid news. We crave information and want to develop partnerships with media professionals that provide the print and broadcast audiences with relevant news from newsmakers.
There is often a standing controversy about the way public relations works with the television stations. I have found that people who work as directors or producers of newscasts mention certain aspects of a story and may disregard others because of the fear of free advertising. In the movie I Am Sam, Starbucks probably paid millions of dollars to be the chosen coffee house where Sean Penn worked. It could be assumed that television stations sometimes feel uneasy in mentioning certain things in order to protect those who have spent their advertising dollars.
The point to be issued is this: Many times public relations professionals create news opportunities in conjunction with what needs to be heard. If a reporter in television, radio or print likes the idea, they will pursue the story and cover its newsworthy elements. As Ted Koppel mentioned during a Nightline series in September 2001 highlighting the genocide taking place in the Congo, as media representatives it is important to deliver not what people want to hear, but what needs to be heard including all of the: who, what, where, when, how but most importantly the why- despite any fear of free advertising.
I hope I speak for all public relations professionals when I say that PR should not be viewed as a burden to those writing about and/or delivering news. PR professionals should be used as pawns to get media to the newsmakers. Public relations fits into the every day media scheme and deserves to be noticed as those who can also deliver news.