It may be that there will always be some friction between public relations practitioners and journalists but there should also be a good working relationship based on mutual respect. Reporters, editors and public relations professionals should seek to understand and value each other's roles.
On this premise, Colleen Gareau (pictured), senior consultant and principal at Seventh Estate PR, www.seventhestatepr.com, and I, with 17 years experience as a journalist, delivered a media relations presentation to final year Bachelor of Public Relations students at Mount Saint Vincent University on May 17, 2011. As a sample of what we discussed, here are our top 10 recommendations (with helpful input from several of our professional colleagues) for public relations professionals tasked with media relations.
Top 10 "to do"
1. Be proactive: Learn who is covering your beat. Build relationships with journalists at industry events, using social media, etc. When you start a new job it’s okay to call reporters and editors to introduce yourself so they know who to speak with. They like to keep their contact lists up-to-date too.
2. Be professional: Return calls, emails promptly. Be accommodating but know when to say no.