Pitched stoRies

      61 Comments on Pitched stoRies

I gave a class assignment this week: Find an article which most likely originated from a public relations “pitch.” By some estimates, most pitched stories are not hard news but more likely run the gamete of tales of personal challenges and achievements, announcements of new products and services, profiles of companies and individuals, et cetera.

Though they may resist acknowledging this, journalists use press releases and PR pitches as significant source material. They often rely on PR professionals to lead them to stories. A 2014 survey by TEKGROUP backs this up; 74% of 171 news consumers and creators said they make use of press releases when following, sharing, or posting news and information.

Roosevelt Field's new "Dining District"

Roosevelt Field’s new “Dining District”

Pitched stories are everywhere. Open any print or online magazine, for example, and most of the copy was the result of a PR professional’s efforts. Agencies spend a lot of time and energy getting their clients into the “free” media, both traditional and new. I was reminded of this as I was reading a lengthy article in Newsday last week featuring the opening of the “dining district” in Roosevelt Field Mall. The mall, among the top ten largest in the United States, is undergoing major renovations including adding a Neiman Marcus, and has done away with its crowded court. The new eatery choices–and the additional seating and tables–made for a solid local story.

The mall article and future stories about the mall’s upgrade was and will be pitched by Farmingdale, Long Island-based agency Ryan & Ryan Public Relations. Having represented Roosevelt Field and other Simon malls for many years, the staff at Ryan & Ryan has its media contacts in place and will be pitching them whenever there’s something new to announce. Reporters will often use these story ideas because their Long Island audiences want to know what’s going on at their popular local mall.

As journalism and media evolve, PR people will be relied upon more and more for ideas and content. It will become our elevated responsibility to find interesting information and compelling stories to reach our targeted audiences. Your thoughts?

 

61 thoughts on “Pitched stoRies

  1. tacost2

    PR professionals are a must! Without us, journalists would be left to find out gripping stories and happenings all on their own. Granted, it is not always incredibly difficult to do such things, however, I think there needs to be some kind of teamwork that exists between the two professions.

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  2. Chris Hoffman

    I have a lot of friends who are either journalists now or who will be entering the field shortly. They always joke with me that once we’re both in our fields of choice, we can’t be friends anymore. The reality is that journalists and PR professionals need each other to survive. Without PR representatives pushing content, journalists would have a real devil of a time finding enough stories to write. Sometimes the stories pushed by PR reps that ultimately get published are banal and irrelevant, but in cases like this, Newsday serves a fairly localized audience who wants news about what’s happening on the island, and things like this (soft news) serve to break up a lot of the intense stories that can take an emotional toll on people.

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  3. Hillary Alexandre

    As much as journalists may want to deny it: they need PR professionals just as much as PR professionals need journalists. I admire journalists for their rigor in finding stories that many people couldn’t dig up even if it were right under their noses. But, in reality, journalists can’t find every story out there. That’s where the PR people come in. Although we may have a slightly different agenda (one for our client), we are able to provide information and stories that are actually useful.

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  4. Jess Hershman

    I think that journalists are increasingly reliant on PR professionals to bring them soft news; however, this is beneficial to both the journalists and those who work in the PR industry, as well as consumers, because it makes it easier for an individual or organization’s message to get out. Pitches from PR professionals can bring topics to journalists that they may not have otherwise been aware of, and facilitate the writing of articles on the subject. PR and journalism are extremely intertwined, and it is unlikely that one will survive without the other.

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  5. kenpow2012

    A very important part of a public relation is to keep the public aware of what is going on in the world that involves there client. One way that public relations practitioners do this, is making connections with journalist and sending them press releases to get them to cover there clients new story. This blog posts shows how crucial it is for PR professionals and journalist to have a good relationship with each other. We make each others jobs a lot easier.

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  6. Williams Ekanem

    As an active business/financial journalist for so many years, I relied heavily on press materials from my public relations friends in corporate organizations to fill my pages.
    I remember vividly many instances when I had to place calls requesting for press materials from my PR friends in banks, insurance companies, quoted companies to enable me beat the production deadline.
    At the same time, there were also instances, I had to drop many press materials sent by PR people, especially when there was a breaking news that needed a magazine style coverage.
    One thing is certain though, reporters do not take content from PR people very seriously because they are considered patronizing, biased and imbalance, except they are exclusive; but PR people seldom have exclusives because they usually would need the widest audience possible for their content.
    To achieve the elevated responsibility canvassed above, PR people must be more creative with their content such that the reporter/editor is compelled to publish.

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  7. Ashley Fazio

    Writing a press release, let alone a good press release is no easy task. The job of public relations professionals is often to make the job easy on the reporter. PR professionals and journalists have a mutually beneficial relationship. PR professionals can help journalists find unique and interesting stories and have a good relationship because of this. I have learned a lot already about what it takes to be a PR professional. I have an appreciation for what it is one must do to be well respected in this field. It is no easy task, but when done right very rewarding.

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  8. Grace Finlayson

    I believe that journalists will rely on public relation professionals for soft news. As much as the public wants to know what is going on around the world, they also have an interest of what is happening in their community. Local businesses and government’s public relation professionals are there to facilitate those stories to keep the public up to date.

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  9. Richard Rocha (@richardrochajr)

    Journalists definitely rely on public relations for soft news, especially things like feature stories. At my last internship at Frank PR, an entertainment firm in the city, the publicists often had writers coming to them to stories and sometimes did not even have to have a pitch ready. Of course, it is better to be proactive than reactive, but it doesn’t hurt to have your work come to you.

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  10. Cheyenne Padgett

    I think that PR people definitely need to be able to not only find new interesting subjects to pitch, but also to communicate with their company to help them decide what they could do that would make an interesting story to their audience. They go hand in hand. If they think of their audience before even planning events then it makes the other part of a PR person’s job easier.

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  11. Katherine Hammer

    When I took a journalism class last semester, my professor always hated to admit that he received stories from PR professionals when he was a journalist. But he always told us that without PR professionals, he would not have had a lot of good stories. I have learned in the past few years journalists and PR professionals need each other in order to be successful. Without press releases, journalists would not have a flooding amount of stories to choose from, and without journalists, PR professionals would not have free media publicity.

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  12. Jennifer Im

    PR practitioners and journalists have an interesting relationship. PR professionals need journalists to pick up their story, while journalists need PR professionals to constantly give them information and news. Even while they have this symbiosis, however, there’s still an air of tension due to a conflict of interests. In the worst case scenario, there’s open hostility. Some journalists will do anything for a story, while some PR practitioners will do anything to get their story published, degrading the originally mutually beneficial relationship into a parasitic one.

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  13. Victoria Kotowski

    I definitely believe that PR professionals will have to find compelling stories to catch consumers attention. They will begin to evolve into even a PR-journalism hybrid in my opinion. I wonder if times will become to competitive that many professionals will take unethical steps to get their clients attention in the public.

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  14. Daylen Orlick

    I agree that PR professionals will be relied on more with an ever-changing media field. Press Releases aren’t ever going to go anywhere and journalists must rely on PR professionals to get all of the information. Ryan and Ryan having there media sources in check is such an amazing thing to hear, and allows the mall to get the exposure that it needs.

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  15. vfrazzzetto1

    There’s a mutual respect and understanding between PR practitioners and journalists, as they compliment each other in many aspects. In the end though, as long as the message gets across to the public in a truthful manner, I don’t see a problem with journalists using public relations materials for information. PR is a very behind the scenes series of actions. On a side note: the Dining District in the Roosevelt field mall is fitting to its profile as a high-end shopping mall.

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  16. afairc1

    Journalists today rely heavily on press releases and other documents that public relations practitioners put out. At the same time the public relation practitioners heavily rely on the Journalists picking up what they are putting out in the world and relaying it to the world in a positive light. They need each other to survive in this modern technology oriented world but they also have to have positive relations with one another so the story in the news is a positive one and not a negative story.

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  17. Michele Colletti

    I am currently taking your PR class and a media ethics class that discusses a lot about the ethics of journalism. Taking these two classes have opened my eyes to see how much these two professions need one another to survive. I hope in my future i have good relationships with journalists and vice versa. We can both help each other out in our careers and i don’t see why we shouldn’t help each other succeed.

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  18. Rock(Shi Yan)

    For me the Pitched stories more like the good stories. They are very interesting. This part of news are easier to let the people like. Because they are not to hard and they talk about real things. After reading , people could learn something or understand something.

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  19. Ariana Queenan

    Journalism students should be required to take at least one PR course and vice versa. Currently, PR 100 is simply an elective for journalism students at Hofstra University. It is best that PR students take a journalism class and vice versa, because they will be able to develop a concrete understanding about the journalist that they are pitching to. There is an undeniably strong and mutually beneficial relationship between PR professionals and journalist. Both professions really depend on each other to perform their job functions well. Prior to taking this PR course, I knew nothing about the relationship between a journalist and a PR professional.

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  20. Dan Schaefer

    The increasing competition to publish content may lead to more unethical practices by PR professionals and reporters. In attempts to regulate it, could the commercialization of media coverage become ethical by law?

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  21. Gabrielle Furman

    It seems that journalists today rely on press releases and things that public relations practitioners put out . It’s all given to them through social media, blogs and anywhere things can be posted. However, they each need each other to survive because PR practitioners need the media to cover their story and the journalists need PR practitioners to give them a story.

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  22. Jazmin Quinci

    Previous to studying at Hofstra, I only knew how to write research papers and essays. These forms of writing are pretty straight forward, right? There’s an introduction, a thesis, the supporting data and conclusion. So now I’m a graduate student being challenged to write better, cleaner and to make my point without taking readers around the globe. Writing pitch letters and press releases takes skill and finesse (which I’ve yet to develop). It’s not as easy as it appears. Along with my respect, I say kudos to all the public relations professionals in New York that know their stuff. Thanks Professor Morosoff for teaching us the ropes!

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  23. javendaily

    It is clear that public relations plays a big role in how information is presented in the media and how the content reaches journalists. It ties in with the topic of ethics in public relations because now there is a bigger responsibility for public relations practitioners to provide information that is accurate and honest. Journalists rely on each other, journalists need stories and public relations professionals need press for their clients. It is crucial to be ethical at all times and maintain good relationships with journalists so both professions can continue to grow.

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  24. carsoncuevas

    As the role of PR professionals becomes increasingly about finding the stories people should know about, rather than just the job of a journalist, everyone involved in any aspect of the media should feel the responsibility to get a gripping lead. I like how journalists and PR professionals have a relationship that only works if both parties contribute their best and deliver the facts, there is a sort of pressure that way, but also, a similar goal.

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  25. Mike Cox

    Press releases and PR pitched stories have always been around and aren’t going anywhere. It is almost refreshing to know that even with the technological changes happening all around us these two things remain as important now as they were when they were first became known. The way we find our news through time may change with time but PR practitioners will always be needed to help get that new out there.

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  26. Vanessa Felder

    It is interesting to see the mutual dependency of journalists and PR professionals, and how they’re a resource for one another. Despite the fact both professions have dislikes about the other, it is imperative that the relationship blossoms and both parties give and take. This story above reveals the importance of PR people sharing news and creative content with reporters, because journalists constantly need new ideas, and one day a PR professional will need a story put into the newspaper.

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  27. Priyanka Singh

    When I interned at Newsday, I worked with a web producer to come up with content that would fit our health and wellness blog. My web producer found out about an autism campaign happening in Levittown from a press release sent to her by a PR professional. Since I was assigned the story, I worked closely with the PR professional who I actually met at the campaign event. She connected me to people I interviewed for the story and I even got a tour of the autism school where it was being held, so I agree with everyone above who says that PR and journalism are coexisting forces that work in tandem. In fact, the central focus of my capstone project came from a press release that a PR professional sent me simply as a guide. From that pitch, my story developed into something even bigger. Without that press release clarifying specific details that I didn’t have initially, I would’ve been lost.

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  28. Marissa Slattery

    I was tasked with a very similar assignment in my undergraduate studies. My enjoyment of reading magazines and newspapers was never the same again! I began reading everything from the eye of a PR professional and soon was skeptical that there was any original material out there that wasn’t driven by a press release or pitch…I was convinced that the journalism and PR worlds were involved in mind control experiment trying to provoke some type of action from me. After my initial cynicism wore off, I began reading everything more critically with my eyes open to what the driving force may be behind a story. People around the globe trust journalists to bring them the news, it is the responsibility of journalists and PR professionals alike to make sure that the news that reaches them is truthful, relevant and informative. Whether a story originates from a pitch or a press release, it is the responsibility of all involved before it reaches a reader to make certain that it is worthy of their attention. Much like the boy who cried wolf, if stories continue to run without garnering any interest from an audience, eventually, they will stop listening.

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  29. elizah9

    Public relations is an extremely interesting field that does a range of work from press releases to pitch letters, the profession covers numerous aspects of the media. Additionally, I find it interesting that public relations professionals pitch a majority of local stories in the media. I always knew that they contribute to the articles written in newspapers, magazines, and etc., but didn’t notice how much they actually do. This makes me even surer that I want to go into the field of public relations because I want to be part of a profession that does a lot for the media and is always needed.

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  30. Taylla Smith

    Public Relations is definitely a growing field and this kind be seen just from the idea of having to pitch stories. That concept is mix of public relations and journalism and understand what is going to work for the audience. The pitch for the Mall’s new food court was a great idea and people were interested about this improvement. This kind of work that PR professionals is going to please the targeted audiences which is the end goal for most professionals.

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  31. Andrew Manning

    My first experience with journalism was covering events for my campus newspaper, and at that time I knew very little about PR. Early on, I was intimidated by the idea of approaching the people who stood behind the people everyone was focused on, but I’ll never forget how easy my job became once I did.
    You don’t need to have been on both sides to realize the relationship between journalists and PR practitioners is symbiotic. Journalists want content, and practitioners want to get their content out there. If you don’t give the other a reason not too, they’ll keep coming back to you. I have relationships on both sides which make everything I do easier than if I was doing it alone.

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  32. edelafraz

    “As journalism and media evolve, PR people will be relied upon more and more for ideas and content. It will become our elevated responsibility to find interesting information and compelling stories to reach our targeted audiences.” These two sentences are worded perfectly and really inform non-PR professionals what the industry is truly about. The PR industry is fortunately growing and so is the knowledge of journalists and other professionals. Furthermore, I had a little bit of trouble finding a “pitch” myself for the assignment because I did not really know what a pitch included. However, after attending a marketing conference this week and reading the PR textbook, I learned that major companies from the National Basketball Association and Coca-Cola take part in PR pitches everyday. After all, “pitched stories are not hard news but more likely run the gamete of tales of personal challenges and achievements, announcements of new products and services, profiles of companies and individuals, et cetera.” This blog post really clarified my outlook on the ever growing PR industry and the art of a “pitch.”

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  33. dmeccariello

    Press releases is a great way for journalists to receive a lot (if not all) of the information they need to write their articles. I like to think of this as reactive journalism. The story is written based off of information received rather than information gathered.

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  34. Cass Lang

    For the Long Island Regional Spelling Bee held at Hofstra University, I wrote a press release for Hofstra University Relations to be sent out to the media. One of the journalists my boss sent it to, who reports for Newsday, ended up taking huge unedited pieces out of my press release. The day it was published, I got a text from my boss with a link to the article and the message saying, “Newsday owes you props!”. Journalists definitely rely on PR people not only for information, but for good stories. As our world of media and news speeds up, becoming almost instantaneous, it becomes increasingly difficult for journalists to keep up and to meet their deadlines. Our relationship with journalists is not one sided. Journalists need our help to do their job well.

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  35. nnicolegd

    Though some journalists deny PR’s increased role as a major content provider, regardless, PR-derived stories are still the source of much of today’s media coverage. Considering the growing interrelatedness of PR and journalism, It’s equally important for both journalists and PR practitioners to become more transparent in order to ensure continuous public and consumer credibility.

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  36. Taylor Lawrence

    A strong relationship between organizations, like Simon, PR people and reporters/media is so important for all parties involved. Without PR the necessary stories about an organization will not get out. Without the media who will the PR people pitch the stories to. Without the organizations there will be no stories. Each piece must coincide with each other to present the best stories possible to the targeted audience. I feel that yes, PR people are being relied on more and more, but it will always be a three way street.

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  37. Marc Carganilla

    I think the distinction between PR workers and Journalists are opinions and who can say them. A PR writer must be straight foreword in a message and can to in any way provide an opinion unless quoted by the higher ranking individuals. A journalist however cannot be opinionated they have to report news. Now a new mall food court should be advertised rather than criticize if the change is suppose to be part of a remolding plan for the mall.

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  38. jheiden1

    I think I sometimes forget how often press releases are utilized. They’re such a crucial piece of the public relations puzzle. It’s also interesting to note the close interaction between journalists and PR professionals throughout time. They rely so much upon each other and having those strong relationships ensure media success. It all seems to come full circle.

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  39. Abby Drapeau

    This is a perfect example of how journalists and public relations professionals work together, nothing is more excited than getting one of your stories picked up. I never think when I’m reading an article, “oh, this was pitched by a someone in pr,” I always assumed that it’s from the journalist doing research. I think it really goes to show that a good pr professional can really make the work of a journalist a lot easier.

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  40. keyanamichelle13

    This is a great example of the interaction between journalism and public relations. Each of these professions rely on one another heavily. PR people present the news and journalists write about it. Without one, the other would fail, like yin and yang.

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  41. gluisi

    I think it is a blessing in disguise that the journalists job is split. Now, Journalists look to PR professionals for their stories, instead of finding them themselves. I say this is a blessing in disguise because this shows just how important PR professionals are to not only their profession, but the rest of the world. This gets the positive vibe out there about PR. PR professionals do many jobs and it’s time people recognize that.

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  42. s5n1el

    I think that it’s really strange how journalism literally split into two separate professions in order to become more efficient and specialized. Don’t get me wrong, I am happy it did, because I love PR, but it is really interesting. Journalism used to be where the journalist had to find the story and report on it, and now, the journalist raises a hand into the air, and stories go flying into their hand. It definitely makes for more commercialized and streamlined reporting, but doesn’t necessarily make for higher quality stories.

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  43. Jen OMalley

    It seems like commenters of this post are all in agreement that journalism and PR go hand in hand in many ways. Many journalists feel that the field of PR is detracting from their jobs and actually causing the downfall of journalism. I do not think that PR is taking journalism over to a point where the profession will become obsolete. I too agree that each field can work together and help one another by maintaining a balance and practicing ethics. Both PR practitioners and journalists have the ability to help one another succeed.

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  44. Heather Lanci

    I think it’s great for PR professionals that the media is relying on them more and more as time goes on. It keeps organizations happy with their PR people because they are getting more publicity. It’s much more helpful for a journalist when the PR person knows how to write like a journalist, so that means that a good PR writer will get published more. That’s one of the reasons why PR requires exceptional writing skills.

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  45. Christina Michael

    This is a perfect example of how PR and journalists work together to reach their target audience and promote their client. By having consistent and updated press releases about the renovations to the Roosevelt Mall, it will help boost business because people will be interested to see the changes made to their local mall. The press releases also benefit the journalists and the publications that write about the mall because they are reaching their target audience by reporting on local events that people are interested in and therefore will boost sales of their papers or publications.

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  46. Rachel Tyler

    The more I learn about PR and Journalism I see how essential these to professions are to one another. These professions could not thrive on their own. Imagine journalism having to find intriguing stories, research them, and report on them. This is an everyday job for them. WIth the help of PR professionals, journalist receive hundreds of pitches and press releases instead of the one they would be researching. Because journalist are receiving hundreds of pitches and press releases it is PR professionals jobs to make their work intriguing to the journalist.

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  47. Anjelica Johnson

    This truly shows that journalism and public relations go side by side together and it’s important for both sides to build their relationships and contacts within each other’s organization. This also means it is really important to create a compelling and perfect press release since a good chunk of information will be taken from that one document.

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  48. jhasten1

    I think it is really interesting how segmented our audiences are these days. It is an art in itself to find those particular target audiences that are interested in the content or news you are pitching to the journalists. Knowing the appropriate journalists to cover your stories is key. The example you gave is a bit of an easier story to pitch because of how popular it is to go to Roosevelt Field Mall when you live in Long Island.

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  49. Nicholas Taddeo

    It’s great to hear that the Roosevelt Field Mall has finally made improvements to their food court; what’s even better to hear is that a public relations pitch is responsible for the spread of such good news. I agree with your last statements and although PR professionals might now be accountable for doing more, I believe the added responsibility gives Public Relations a strong and positive future.

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  50. Tamara Russo

    The media has only increased and grown with the advancement of technology. Reaching different audiences has never been easier than with a click of a button. I don’t necessarily think that there will ever be a struggle to obtain new, interesting, and exciting stories since there are so many outlets and audiences you can reach.

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  51. Jennifer Pizzurro

    Professor Morosoff, I find it very interesting how close knit the Public Relations and Journalism professions are. Sometimes it is crucial for the two to work together to make sure that the story is pitched perfectly. The two professions rely on each other to get the job done.

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  52. memlano1

    I visited Roosevelt Field Mall last night and was able to experience first-hand the new “dining district.” It definitely lived up to its hype and was filled with shoppers, but was much less chaotic than the previous food court. It’s important for stories like the mall renovations to be featured in local newspapers and magazines – the public likes to hear what’s happening in their community. Stories going on in the rest of the country and internationally can be found at multiple sources, especially online, so stories pitched by PR professionals are a nice change of scenery. In addition, these stories can bring attention to things that the public does not have much knowledge of. For example, most people know of the Brian Williams scandal, but they may not have heard that Hofstra’s basketball team made it to the NCAA championships or that Roosevelt Field has added new restaurants, such as Potatopia.

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  53. Nicole Romeo

    For the assignment where we had to pick an article that most likely originated as a public relations “pitch” I actually chose the same article that is mentioned in this blog post. Ive learned that journalist and PR practitioners really do work had in hand with each other and have to maintain a civil relationship in order to get a correct story across to the public. Ive also learned that people who work in the field of PR have to sometimes dig deep in order to come up with a story that will interest the public.

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  54. geow1

    A good partnership between PR professionals and journalists can be beneficial in many ways. Having a keen sense on curating a press release helps ease the information transfer for others to read. Besides that, journalists might receive more information from other sources as well. It is important that the information we share is accurate and precise. Creating a trustworthy relationship is the most important aspect.

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  55. Nicholas Mazzarella

    Professor Morosoff:

    It’s interesting to think about how the stories that we read every day originate. The fact that these public relations pitches are geared toward softer news makes sense. Most media outlets would cover, for example, a school shooting, and they wouldn’t need a pitch from a PR person to do so. On the other hand, a publication might not go out of its way to write a feature story about an individual; rather, it would be directed to that piece via a PR pitch. Journalists write the content, but it is the responsibility of PR practitioners to get the ball rolling and lead reporters in the right direction. PR and journalism don’t work independently of each other. Without story pitches from PR people, journalists might struggle to come up with ideas.

    -Nick Mazzarella

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  56. Kimberly Minto

    I went to the mall yesterday and although I didn’t get a chance to see the changes made so far, I’m looking forward to it when its all completed. The publicity surrounding the renovation has excited people, that couldn’t have happened without the combined work of public relations practitioners and the journalists. Public relations is important for any business and the only for it to succeed is a beneficial relationship with reporters. The Roosevelt Field Mall story illustrates that, journalists rely on PR for stories and PR practitioners rely on journalists to get the story out to their public. These industries need each other to survive.

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  57. rebeccaanncosta

    One of the first things I learned about the public relations field was the art of writing press releases. Although the job of public relations professionals is often to make the job easy on the reporter, PR professionals and journalists have a mutually beneficial relationship. PR professionals can help journalists find unique and interesting stories that they may not have been able to find otherwise. As I have learned, writing a good press release is key and I am sure it is something I will do thousands of times in my PR career.

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  58. msvonne88

    This might seem crazy but I’ve built some relationships with journalists that they contact me directly for stories and information. This is before I even send them a press release or a pitch letter, they might hear about something and will call me up for information. I think that is how our relationships should always be, helpful and informative. They need content and we need press so it’s a win-win situation in my eyes.

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  59. pjze618

    Maybe it is because I live five minutes from the mall, but I haven’t seen any articles advertising the new dining district. Nevertheless, pitches are so important to a journalist. It is always amazing to me how connected the two careers are, even though the journalists don’t really like PR professionals. Journalists rely on interesting stories that are pitched by the PR people in order to have a good article to submit to their editors.

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  60. Olivia Hayum

    Social media seems to be the go-to medium these days. With companies able to post their own stories, they do not need to rely solely on traditional media and reporters. This also means that reporters need to rely on pitches from PR professionals.

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  61. emilyrwalsh

    A major part of the public relations field includes writing press releases for journalists. As mentioned in this blog post, the journalists then use the press releases to write stories about the new product or event that will be taking place. PR practitioners and journalists work off of each other within the world of media. PR breaks the news and writes about it so journalists can then write longer stories for the publics to see. One without the other would result in the other failing to get jobs done. It is so amazing how crucial journalists and public relations professionals are in each other’s lives.

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