Let’s move on from ‘PR vs Journalism’ joust

Having recently come up with the idea for the www.pria.com.au driven ‘PR and Journalism are different sides of the same coin’ debate and successfully pulled it off, I can now say that I am very over the topic. We (the PRIA New Media Group) created some great conversation between a number of industry professionals with a #priadebate Twitter stream and some great coverage in www.mumbrella.com.au, B&T magazine and even Social Diary. Other than Professor www.jimmacnamara.com’s latest research about the topic, which included a history of the joust, the conversation didn’t seem to bring to light too many new insights for me except that I am more than ready to take on the challenge of ‘PR plus Journalism’ stance.

Both professions are very different by job description but very similar in sharing the commonality of being sources of information. At many times, our target markets and audiences are the same and the information we excrete is, at the basest level, the same but packaged up to deliver different versions of the facts. The PR client aims to reach its mass target audience (which may also be a niche group) via the different media which has already accrued this mass to whom relevant information is communicated via online/print/broadcast and everything in between.

It seems to me that a partnership and support network would be the obvious and natural solution for the PR and Journalism industries for communicating the best and highest quality information as possible. A vast amount of the most crucial facts and information is held and managed by PRs and Journalists benefit from having access to this information. And yes, you are right; there may not be a mutual gain from both parties having this information and quite often, publicly revealing said information prompts crisis communications. But this brings me to ponder if there could be milder media crises if there were stronger PR + Journalism relationships.

Professionally speaking, I’m all about the relationships and networks. I don’t believe I am opportunistic in a ruthless and unethical way (yes, some people do think this is a merit!) but in a way where I like to establish and nurture my contacts so that we may have a mutually beneficial partnership. I would like to think that I add value in some way for all my followers/friends/connections/fans/contacts at some point during our time of being connected in the Iggy Pintado sense. I’m all about the connectedness which has prompted my great interest in and passion for online social networks.

Yes I do love web 2.0 but I’m also all about face time which, for me, is one of the most valuable factors to truly cementing a good connection and to which I add value using the tools of web 2.0.

I could go on and on about this topic which would lead me to expanding my passionate ramblings about the value of human contact, the skills required for practicing this human contact which I fear are on the endangered list, and the benefits and disadvantages of online social networking. But these stories are for another post.

Do you think PR and Journalism will mature into a value-add relationship instead of a bitter and outdated ‘thing’?

PRIA debate - PR professionals WITH real live journalist Clint Drieberg (2UE)

PRIA debate - PR professionals WITH real live journalist Clint Drieberg (2UE)

PRIA Debate - New Media Group committee members (L-R) Sue Kirkland-Smith, Katy Dennis, me

PRIA Debate - New Media Group committee members (L-R) Sue Kirkland-Smith, Katy Dennis, me



  1. I agree that the word “versus” is the wrong description.

    But I don’t think the two are the same “side”, for want of a better word, either.

    We serve two different masters.

    The PR’s job is to present their client in the best possible light (not that there’s anything wrong with that).

    The journalists’s job should be to serve their readers, and only their readers.

    Sometimes the two may be travelling in the same direction, and can share a very pleasant journey together. But inevitably there should also be times when the travellers part….


    Tim – Mumbrella

    • Thanks Tim. I do like your analogy of two travellers moving in the same direction and that yes, there will be times when a parting of ways does come about. Although I still believe that, at the very basest level, PR and Journalism both exist to serve as an information source, although the motivations for producing material can differ.

      In my idealistic fantasy world there would be minimal discrepancy between these agendas and, ultimately, both industries would exist to deliver precise information to the people (in the Obama sense of the word ‘people’!). Yes, in my dream land….

      I appreciate you taking the time to read my humble blog Tim – thank you.


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