Saturday, March 7, 2009

Me v. You

I'm pretty new to this major, so I am always surprised when people tell me about what I am thinking. For example, in my Mass Communications class, a guest speaker asked who the print majors were and then hid behind a desk and explained how we were surely going to beat her up after class because she had gotten her degree in print but was now in the field of PR. Why were we going to beat her up? Because apparently all print majors hate all PR majors and visa versa. Thanks for telling me, because up until that point I didn't know that I was supposed to hate anybody.

Why is it that this strained relationship exists? Mostly because there is a tension created by our different professions. We both want to tell people what is going on, but one of us is known for making everything look worse than it really is, and the other is known for making everything look like sunshine and daisies.

PR people want to make their company look as good as possible. Sometimes this includes taking a bad situation and letting people know that it isn't as bad as it seems, that their company is run by human beings just like any other, or that the problem is being fixed.

Other forms of journalism looks at it as being their responsibility to expose problems to the world so that more people aren't subject to the repercussions of the problem in the first place. Then journalists tell people whether they think the problem can really be resolved or if the PR people are just blowing smoke.

PR thinks journalists are trying to unfairly tear down their company, and journalists think PR is covering something up. Will this ever be resolved? Of course not. The tension is getting worse. Is that a bad thing, not necessarily. Is the tension between PR and journalism didn't exist, neither would really be doing their job. It may not have to be as bad as it is, but it must always exist.

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