So what's new about reporters griping about PR people? Nothing, right? If there were reporters carving news into stone tablets 10,000 years ago, they were probably grumbling about some PR guy pitching them tidbits about a fish sale down the road in Mesopotamia.
The only difference now is that those reporters can publicly scream about PR people on their own web site. It's called AngryJournalist, and we recommend it as one of the best ways to learn about what is ailing the media, and not surprisingly, there's a lot of stuff pissing reporters and editors off.
But first, let's look at some gripes aimed at the PR profession:
“I can’t stand PR people. I no longer give them courtesy.”
“If his questions were that bad, then we know why he’s in PR now!”
“If your press release contains errant apostrophe’s, I will delete it immediately because you are an idiot.”
Do you get tired of hearing crap from reporters? I decided to ask our PR readers on Ragan's social network what they thought.
"Sure, they hate us ... until they need us. Like many of you, I've worked both sides now that I'm on this one, could just as well bitch about lazy reporters who want a story handed to them on a plate, complete with interview subjects' names and numbers for the human interest side. Geez!"
"You forgot to mention how journalists seem to think everyone's time and agendas focus around their needs!"
"I think many of the problems reporters have with PR people is due to the restrictions the top people in our company put on us. I was lucky to work for a company that allowed me to talk on the record and that helps build good relations. I have many reporters send me studies and quotations they got just so we could see if we wanted to comment on it."
Patrick Williams, a Ragan consultant, says there's got to be some bickering between the two groups. He summed it up with a great line from the late Larry Ragan, founder of Ragan Communications:
"Fighting is the way Americans solve their problems."
We agree, Patrick. But doesn't it seem like this battle is getting worse? Is it just me, or do reporters seem angrier than ever now?
Certainly they have good reason to be. Every week brings some new tale of economic disaster among traditional media, and while AngryJournalist.com certainly includes reporters working in the online world, one gets the sense that most of the howls are coming from traditional newsrooms.
Here is one quote from a journalist posting anonymously about his company's financial woes and the havoc they have wrought in the newsroom:
"I’m angry because the normally tight-lipped members of our upper management team have decided to start holding occasional “informational forums” in an effort to alleviate anxiety in the newsroom and stomp-out rumors surrounding the upcoming round of buyouts, layoffs and other cost-cutting measures recently announced for our paper."
So before you make that next call to your favorite reporter, consider what he or she has been going through.
It's not pretty on that side of the world.