View all newsletters
Sign up for our free email newsletters

Fighting for quality news media in the digital age.

  1. Comment
July 3, 2024

PR-journalists relations haven’t progressed in 50 years

PR of 50 years "fully empathises" with Jay Rayner's frustrations about media relations.

By Letters Page

This is a response to: ‘So many damn follow-up emails’: Jay Rayner tells PRs to stop ‘driving me nuts’

Having spent 50 years of my life in the public relations (PR) industry it’s sad to reflect that media relations hasn’t progressed much since I moved into it in 1973 from being a national magazine journalist

Media relations is often seen as the Cinderella of PR. And it shouldn’t be. It’s an exact science and one that needs to be carefully executed.

I can fully empathise with Jay Rayner. Many PR practitioners in my day came from came from journalism and so press releases were seen as a great way of getting news into the hands oof journalists.

What is often overlooked is the way the press release is pitched.

Select and enter your email address Weekly insight into the big strategic issues affecting the future of the news industry. Essential reading for media leaders every Thursday. Your morning brew of news about the world of news from Press Gazette and elsewhere in the media. Sent at around 10am UK time. Our weekly does of strategic insight about the future of news media aimed at US readers. A fortnightly update from the front-line of news and advertising. Aimed at marketers and those involved in the advertising industry.
  • Business owner/co-owner
  • CEO
  • COO
  • CFO
  • CTO
  • Chairperson
  • Non-Exec Director
  • Other C-Suite
  • Managing Director
  • President/Partner
  • Senior Executive/SVP or Corporate VP or equivalent
  • Director or equivalent
  • Group or Senior Manager
  • Head of Department/Function
  • Manager
  • Non-manager
  • Retired
  • Other
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how Progressive Media Investments may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
Thank you

Thanks for subscribing.

The ability to pitch a story to a particular journalist on a particular media outlet was considered the zenith of media relations practice.

Content from our partners
<a></a>Key ways to futureproof your media career as journalism job cuts bite deep
Slow online ads cost UK publishers £50m a year: Here's how to fix them
Mather Economics and InsurAds combine to help publishers boost revenue

Using a press release distribution service is all well and good, but in the hands of a sloppy PR person it’s all too easy just to select media outlets from an online database with a few clicks of a keyboard. Using a machine gun approach to media relations is simply woeful.

All too often PRs use press releases like junk mail. It’s sloppy and lazy.

Targeting media outlets without ever reading, listening, or watching the media outlet you are targeting is just very poor practice.

Best to spend time to draw up your own media list, developing a profile of the journalists and the media outlets you are targeting.

Understanding what news is, being able to write clearly and concisely and most importantly understanding what a news story or feature are paramount skills that every PR executive should possess. They are the principles I taught for 24 years to undergraduate and postgraduate students studying PR at university.

If you have a great relationship with a journalist, you have a pretty good idea before you pitch your ‘story’ if it is likely to favourably viewed.

Getting media relations to work is tough, it’s exhausting and it takes considerable effort and expertise to get right.

So calling up a journalist or bombarding them with WhatsApp messages or emails to ask why the press release you sent them hasn’t been used is just crass.

Done right media relations is one that should be built on mutual respect and trust of the journalist.

You provide the information, they write the news. Like all good relationships it needs empathy, understanding and respect.

Robert Minton-Taylor spent 50 years in public relations. He trained as a journalist before moving into PR. He has been a board director of a global PR consultancy, managing director of a regional PR agency, global media relations manager of a Scandinavian shipping line and a university lecturer.

Topics in this article :

Email pged@pressgazette.co.uk to point out mistakes, provide story tips or send in a letter for publication on our "Letters Page" blog

Select and enter your email address Weekly insight into the big strategic issues affecting the future of the news industry. Essential reading for media leaders every Thursday. Your morning brew of news about the world of news from Press Gazette and elsewhere in the media. Sent at around 10am UK time. Our weekly does of strategic insight about the future of news media aimed at US readers. A fortnightly update from the front-line of news and advertising. Aimed at marketers and those involved in the advertising industry.
  • Business owner/co-owner
  • CEO
  • COO
  • CFO
  • CTO
  • Chairperson
  • Non-Exec Director
  • Other C-Suite
  • Managing Director
  • President/Partner
  • Senior Executive/SVP or Corporate VP or equivalent
  • Director or equivalent
  • Group or Senior Manager
  • Head of Department/Function
  • Manager
  • Non-manager
  • Retired
  • Other
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how Progressive Media Investments may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
Thank you

Thanks for subscribing.

Websites in our network