Don’t write off the good guys, Bernard

Bernard Hickey is building a new media model in New Zealand. Called, its approach is described as ‘public interest journalism funded by the public’

Read more about it here. It sounds fascinating.

I was disturbed by the disparaging references to PR that were included among the new model’s raison d’être.

Now I may yet be proved wrong but I’m pretty sure that somewhere along the line someone writing for will want information about some organisation or industry and will pick up the phone to … yes, A PR person.

So here’s a quick note to Bernard:

Bernard – this is so cool. I wish you everything of the best with this initiative. You might not be interested in receiving my press releases but I look forward to working with you, your reporters and your contributors to help and assist in the development of your stories – as so many decent, hard-working and straight-forward PR people do, day in and day out.

I dealt with 15 media enquiries last week alone – obviously a slow week – providing data the journalists were after; helping reporters achieve accuracy by explaining the background and complexities behind developments impacting three different industries; putting callers in touch with interesting people to speak with (none of them TextWrite clients); and facilitating swift, pithy and usable material in response to searching questions about our clients.

There are some charlatans in PR. As there are in journalism. And much of what passes for PR – particularly the saccharine puff behind the ‘infotainment’ that is so frequently dished up as ‘news’ – is actually just publicity. And should be called that.

But I hope there’s room in your new model for the boys and girls in PR whose sometimes complicated job it is to get organisations to act properly and do the right thing, and to encourage organisational transparency by opening up channels of communication with the people interested in them. 

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