Thursday, November 20, 2008

Journalists and Public Relations: Domestic Partners

At Belmont University, I lead the New Century Journalism Program. We are teaching students new media, ethics, writing and storytelling across multimedia platforms. In other words, we are training them to be flexible journalists. In addition to journalism,Public Relations is also a major. Students often have a difficult time deciding which one to choose. I often say if you are sure you never want to be a journalist, choose PR. However, if you are remotely interested in journalism, major in it. The reason being that many of the most successful PR people are former journalists. Now former MSNBC executive and on air personality Dan Abrams has launched his own company using an arsenal of journalists and other media professionals as consultants. In the article, some argue that to use journalists as advisors damages the overall credibility of journalism. And that supports my point, that former journalists often make better PR or media relations strategists because they intimately understand the media and have many contacts as a result of their employment in the industry.

I respect and embrace that position that there should be separation between journalists and PR people. But in these rough economic times, people have to do what they have to do, ethically and legally. Abrams says that he will not compromise a reporter's integrity by asking them to work with a potential news source. The article notes that others like Arianna Huffington's Huffington Post have been successful using the shared resources strategy. We are in an open source, networking economy. It is critical that people pool resources. Those who are more collaborative are faring much better than those who are still trying to survive autonomously.

If anybody thinks Dan can use my expertise, hook a sistah up!!

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