The relationship between journalism and public relations can be viewed in many different ways, but views are particularly different when influenced from a journalism point of view of a public relations point of view. However it has become increasingly obvious over recent years that the two communication types are more in competition with each other than ever, and this is down to processes such as ‘PR-isation’ and ‘churnalism’. (p.260)
Moloney (2010, p. 152) defines ‘PR-isation’ as “the professional state where PR attitudes are incorporated into journalism’s mind-set, and where PR-biased material is published without sourcing”. This process is a threat to contemporary journalism as it is the colonisation of news media influencing journalism. Moloney (2006, p.80) continues to state that PR is ‘weak propaganda’ as it only uses selected information passed on to interest people without scrutinising it’s source, purely so they can make news.
Due to the pressure of PR-isation, journalists are under pressure to produce more work to keep their stories in the news. This in turn creates the process named ‘churnalism’ where journalists are writing or ‘churning out’ stories of anything that comes to them, whether important or not just to keep up with the pressure of the press. It means that journalists become more processors of news rather than generators. Stefan Stern says that ‘churnalism is a symptom of media market where the PR as become too powerful relative to news organisations that are too weak’. ( The Journalist, 2011, p.15)
This process puts a strain on the relationship between PR and journalism. Normally, journalists find facts and stories that PR specialists then use to create certain images for their clients. But since the pressure of PR-isation and churnalism, PR specialists use fake or unsourced stories to promote their clients, resulting in journalists looking unreliable. Truth and trust is a key factor in the relationship between the two specialities.
It is well known that journalists like to ‘get it right’ and do not like being ‘purveryors of second hand goods’, a slight dig at public relations specialists. (Mike Jempson, 2004)
As stated in ‘News journalism and public relations’, that journalists should be weary of ideas and sourced from PR specialists. The main goal of a PR professional is to get their client into the news. Equally journalists must remember that their use of PR will mean tension to their audience, as they are supposed to present an unbiased opinion which is the exact opposite intention of a PR professional.
- Jempson, M (2004) Spinners or sinners? PR, journalists and public trust
- Moloney. Kevin, 2011 – News journalism and public relations; a dangerous relationship.
- Stern. Stefan, The Journalist, 2011. Retrieved 4 February 2012, Available at: http://issuu.com/nujupload/docs/the_journalist_mag_feb_11_web?mode=window&pageNumber=1
- Long, P and Wall, T (2012) Media Studies Texts, Products, Context, Chapter 5