Stop Bashing Media Relations—More Important Than Ever

Elevated view of reporter holding microphoneI’ve been thinking a lot lately about how, somewhere along the line, the term “media relations” became such a derisive and reviled term within the public relations business. In the world of PR 2.0, Web 2.0 and everything 2.0, why have we suddenly come to the conclusion—seemingly as an entire industry—that media relations (i.e. the act of actually understanding and trying to help the media as a key function of PR professional’s job) is dead?  That now it’s all about bloggers, or reaching the hottest social media “influencers” and anyone else who can who has an online portal that has high enough uniques according to Compete or Quantcast.

Since when did treating the mainstream media with the respect that they, as seasoned professionals rightfully deserve, become such a low priority in PR? And why is it this way? That’s the question I keep asking myself. Coming from a sports PR background, where relationships with reporters and true media relations (i.e. providing the media with tons of facts, information and truly relevant/compelling story angles are the basis of a successful career) are vitally important, I’m starting to think it’s about time the PR business comes back to its senses a bit and realizes that if we want to get the respect we all know we deserve from both colleagues and other media professionals, then we need to give a vitally important part of our business—reporters—the respect they deserve.

In other words, stop throwing reporters to the street in favor of this year’s hot new media profession—the interactive media producer, the podcaster or the hottest new tech blogger, and start realizing that all of these people, including traditional reporters, are part of the collective media. That means our relationships with the media are way more important now than ever before. Simply because we have a much more diverse set of the media than has ever existed.

So the next time someone tries to convince you that media relations is dead, or “it’s more important that you get in front of the biggest ‘influencers’,” look them straight in the face as a true public relations professional and tell them they’re out of their mind. In today’s media environment, EVERYONE is the media.

And that makes truly excellent media relations more important than ever before.

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