Why one PR pro is grateful for journalists
Editor's Note: In the spirit of Thanksgiving, we set out to ask journalists and PR pros why they are thankful for one another. If you missed our journalist's take, click here to get caught up.
With the holidays around the corner, I’ve been taking some time to count my blessings, and celebrate all I’m thankful for.
As you can imagine, I’m thankful for things like my family, and my friends and being able to work in a field that I love, but I’m taking a page out of my gratitude journal today and talking about one thing I’m particularly grateful for this Thanksgiving:
First of all, I’m grateful for the reminder journalists provide that I am, in fact, alive. Because as a public relations practitioner, if my phone isn’t ringing, that probably means I’m dead. Or, at the very least, it means I’m irrelevant, which is kind of like being dead, but worse.
I’m also grateful for the media’s ability to let my family know I’m alive during the midst of a crisis. My father is a police officer, so needless to say I come from one of those families that assume the worst without daily contact. Fortunately, live, on-camera interviews provide the perfect opportunity to say “See, I didn’t slip in the shower and crack my head open, I’m right here,” while actually saying “That’s all the information we have at this time.”
And let’s not forget about how journalists make excellent drinking buddies. I’m constantly appreciative for the fact that “having to meet (Name of Reporter) for Happy Hour” is not only a completely acceptable excuse to leave the office early, but to also have the corporate AmEx underwrite the purchase of many a martini.
On a serious note, without journalists I wouldn’t have a job, because I wouldn’t have results. PR is one of those tricky things to measure, and while I do what I can to prove value with “awareness” or “engagement,” in terms of validation, ink speaks for itself.
In most cases, I don’t have to quantify, or explain, or defend, a good story placement. Everyone’s happy. For a few minutes at least.
I need journalists more than they need me, and I try to keep that in perspective. I recognize that they don’t have to acknowledge me, or my clients. They don’t have to cover them. And when they do, just because they have to be objective doesn’t mean that they have to be nice.
That’s why I’m particularly grateful for the ones who trust me – the ones who know they can count on me to get them whatever they need at 4:50 p.m. on a Friday, and in return, give me advance notice that something’s coming down, or who give me the courtesy of reviewing quotes or providing questions in advance.
I’m really grateful for the journalists who call on slow news days to ask if “anything is going on,” which provides the perfect opportunity to pitch something that would seem miniscule on any other day.
I’m grateful when they run with those, because those feel good stories – the warm, fuzzy golden nuggets that inspire and encourage – are the ones that matter the most to the people I work for, and I’m grateful for the advocacy journalists can provide for the public.
That’s why my appreciation for journalists stretches far beyond press clippings and nerdy conversations about current events and passionate and heated debates about the Oxford Comma vs. AP Style.
The very simple truth is the media is an amazing vehicle that advances so many aspects of our society through information. It educates and empowers the masses.
To me, journalists represent the best things about America: freedom of speech, and a free press. And that’s something we should all be thankful for.
Happy Thanksgiving to my journalist friends.