What the Hell Does ...


My own career as a reporter was short-lived, not even three months at the “El Independiente” in South Tucson. Still, I enjoy sharing an outsider’s perspective on the plight of journalism.

Curating these posts on our journalistic brothers/sisters, I’ve captured five takes with a PR bent.

The Wall Street Journal Tries BuzzFeed Storytelling

The Wall Street Journal visual storytelling attempt

When I came across this Journal piece, I literally did a double take. How could such a prestigious publication produce such a dreadful attempt at visual storytelling? Even if it was the work of an intern, that still doesn’t explain how the story made its way through the editing gauntlet to the publish button. The Columbia Journalism Review wrote about this post, allowing me to check a box on my bucket list.

PR Take on the State of the Media 2013

The Pew Research Center dissects the media each year in a special report.

As the overlap between journalism and public relations becomes increasingly uncomfortable, it’s clear that the good folks at Pew are experiencing heartburn on how to explain the phenomena.

This particular passage caught my attention:

At the same time, newsmakers and others with information they want to put into the public arena have become more adept at using digital technology and social media to do so on their own, without any filter by the traditional media. They are also seeing more success in getting their message into the traditional media narrative.

Now there’s an alert-the-media moment. Companies communicating directly to their target audiences.

An Open Letter to the PR Community to Help Restore the Credibility of Journalists

This post is one of my all-time favorites. When the czar of journalistic inner workings, Dave Carr at The New York Times, crafted a column lamenting the fact that some organizations extract the power to approve a quote before it hits the open road, empathy consumed me. I immediately wrote a plea to the PR community to help right this injustice.

The New York Times Story on Journalism in China Is Much Ado About Nothing

Yes, the Chinese media landscape differs from that in the United States. Actions take place behind the close doors that aren’t exactly kosher.

But when a publication frames the issue as black and white implying the purity of journalism in the West, I decided to weigh in with a more nuanced take.

Journalists Accept Apple’s “Storytelling Candy”

The Los Angeles Times article - Apple CEO Tim Cook visits Foxconn factory

I’m convinced if the Nieman Lab or Jeff Jarvis published this post, it would have a triggered some healthy discourse.

When Apple CEO Tim Cook headed to China, the PR function kept silent with one exception. It hired a photographer to take photos figuring whether they communicated or not, journalists would write the Cook-in-China story and need visuals. Even in negative stories, Apple PR reasoned a smiling CEO interacting with the common folks would deliver a positive counterbalance. The ensuring coverage proved them right.

Back to the question, what the hell does the public relations guy know about journalism?

Don’t feel obligated to answer the question.

But I would welcome hearing your comments on any of these topics.




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