Why one journalist is grateful for PR pros
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 PR pro's take, click here to get caught up.
We spend all day calling and emailing strangers, asking them to pay attention to us for various reasons. We handle the frustration of being rebuffed or ignored on a regular basis, (usually) with exceptional grace. And when we’re done there, we move on to writing about those experiences in ways that transform them into logical, interesting reading.
It’s no wonder we drink a lot of coffee.
Right now, journalists are saying, “That’s me!” But so are public relations pros.
This Thanksgiving, let’s all of us in the news business remember to say “thanks” to the media professionals who have more in common with us than we’d sometimes like to admit.
Here are seven reasons to thank PR pros this holiday season:
1. They never let you forget a holiday. Whether it’s Valentine’s Day, National Waffle Iron Day, or No Pants Subway Ride Day, PR pros know that before a coffee or two, journalists might not even be aware that it’s Monday. Thankfully, they’re willing to share their pristine calendars -- especially when one of their clients just happens to be celebrating Take Your Cat to the Vet Day. (Yes, those are all real holidays.)
2. They send surprise presents. PR pros sometimes send samples for review that rival the Christmas gifts of your craziest aunt. Once, our newsroom got a box full of Sharknado 2: The Second One merch, including an umbrella with sharks printed on it. It’s not their fault their clients make folk music with hand-carved kazoos and write books about knitting for cats! Accept and say thanks, just like your mom taught you to do for Aunt Barb.
3, They’re detail-oriented. Do I need to know how many times the mayor of my city washed his hands last week? Nope. But if I did, I would know exactly who to ask. PR pros are numbers people… and schedule people, and list-making people. They have actually seen the holy grail of inbox zero, and can find an email from 2008 in ten seconds flat. Thank goodness for that, because I somehow lost an entire box of pens last week.
4. They answer your calls. Ever have one of those days where none of your sources will answer the phone, and neither will your mom, your sister or your boyfriend? Yeah. Me too. Know who will pick up on the first ring? Your favorite PR pro. Just try not to make her listen to your problems for more than a few minutes, you train wreck, you.
5. They know tons of people. Within their areas of expertise, PR pros are walking rolodexes. The really good ones know the people they represent, and those people’s friends, coworkers and pets. PR pros have connected me with people who have recovered from strokes, students who have invented medical devices, store owners whose families have been in business for generations and plenty of other interesting people. Ask and you shall receive… the phone number for an excellent source.
6. They probably used to do your job--or at least considered it. PR pros often made a career in the journalism world before switching to “the dark side.” Try not to hold it against them. In fact, it often means they have respect for the work we do and insights into the news industry that they’re willing to share, if they’re asked nicely. Bonus points to them for not reminding us how much their paychecks grew when they crossed over.
7. They’re lifesavers on deadline. Ever have two days to write five stories using exactly one-third of a half-baked idea? Your favorite PR pros have your back when it comes to story ideas on your beat, and they’re just an email or a phone call away. And that’s really worth a toast.
Journalists: chime in! Why are you grateful for PR pros?
Rebecca Isenhart is a community journalist in Upstate New York who loves to find, write about, and photograph the quirky and heartwarming details of everyday life. Find her on Twitter and Instagram @rebeccaisenhart or read some of her smile-inducing small-town stories at YourNiskayuna.com.
Photo: Old typewriter via Shutterstock