Tensions and Shared Interests between Public Relations Practitioners and Journalists

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Title------Critically examine both the tensions and shared interests in the relationship between public relations practitioners and journalists.

As public relations and journalism, the PR practitioners and the journalist are always related to each other nowadays. Both of them are important factors of the modern mass media, which aim to influence public opinions since the early twentieth century (Coombs and Holladay, 2010). In order to sharp citizen’s opinions, Charron(1989) mentions that the PR practitioners and journalists often prefer to work together and share information as cooperation. The dependent relationship, as Coombs (2010) explains, the PR practitioners scheme to cover through media, while the journalists are exploiting resources from PR officers for low-cost news. The relationship, on the contrary, seems to be tense when the conflict interests become predominant because the actors have disparate and incompatible assignments during realistic practices. Comparing with the journalists, who aim to search the truth and create a series of stories for daily news, the PR practitioners also need to calculate the corresponding effects and influences behind the news itself (Gordon, 2011). The sponsors’ interests of PR are the restraining factors as well. In addition, as Charron (1989) describes, the relationship is always conflict in political categories, while it may switch on cooperation in economic and other dimensions, thus some external factors may also affect on both PR practitioners and journalists. This essay will analyze the current situations and tasks of PR practitioners respectively in order to evaluate the tense and conflict relationship between PR practitioners and journalists. Then will critically explore the share interests between the two actors. Since there are manifold commons and evaluations among specialists, in the following part of this essay, it will critically compare the different commons on the ambiguous relation. After explore the external factors, it will attempt to suppose the future of the subtle relationship.

There are various commons on public relations practitioners, especially the roles of them, while according to Tench (2006), PR practitioners are the communicators who do research, evaluate and make strategy etc. as their jobs during the communication process. The tasks of PR practitioners, who are specifically related to the media, are communicating with the editors, journalists and producers from the newspaper, TV, radio and the Internet press (Fawkes, 2008). Similar to the PR practitioners, the journalists do the jobs between the public and a variety of social interests (Charron, 1989). The main tasks of journalists, however, are described as informing the public. The journalists always produce news, make the agendas known to the public and bring about the reality based on democratic principles (ibid, 1989).

Tracing back to the 18th century to the mid-Victorian, the number of “journalists-as-government-publicist” (Moloney, 2000, pp151) in the UK kept decreasing. What is more, Moloney (2000) also mentions that journalists have being differentiated because an increasing number of journalists chose to be the advertisers, PR practitioners and advisers to the governments. With the development of Media, the booming broadcasting on the newspaper, TV, radio and the Internet also brings about a further PR expansion (ibid, 2000). Taking the British public relations as an example, the Guardian (20 August, 2003) shows that PR will attract more investigation by more than 30% UK media companies due to its less expense. Furthermore, nine tenths of 300 marketing professionals in a survey believe that the advertisements on TV and radio will be weaken by PR in future (Financial Times, 21 October, 2003). The facts as Morris (2006) analyzes that the original balance between journalists and PR practitioners has been broken. According to Morris’ theory (2006), as far as I am concerned, the power...
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