“It’s PR’s fault!” This is what a reporter acquaintance for a daily publication recently exclaimed to me, as she was lamenting the inability to set up a meeting with a top executive at a major conference. “They didn’t get back to me, and then the head of the company was mad that we didn’t interview him. PR there sucks.”
There are a few things wrong with this story:
> First, it’s easy for reporters to place the blame on the PR department if an interview falls through or is never even set up.
> Second, the reporter refers to a PR professional as the profession itself: instead of Jane Smith or even “the PR representative,” this reporter sees the PR rep as the lump sum of Unhelpfulness. PR’s just a department.
> Third, this reporter doesn’t truly understand the role of Public Relations and possibly (don’t tell her I said this!) her role as a reporter. If you really want to interview the head of this organization, find a way to do it. Make your pitch to the PR person compelling enough that he’ll call you back. Give the PR person enough time to set things up, too....