Should We Give Journalists a Break?

We frequently seem to serve as the mediator between our clients and the media — specifically, circling back with a reporter or contacting an editor to make corrections to a story. This issue came under a microscope this past month with a major client advance in which reporters wanted the news early, demanded the interview ASAP, and needed to write the story in time for the official announcement so they could break the news.

Some of the stories included minor inaccuracies the day the news was announced and the complaints from our clients began. Of course, as PR professionals we expect this and strive to proactively fix errors as soon as we see them. But in the age of 24/7 media where journalists are fighting not only with other online publications but with social media (tweets of the news, Facebook comments), is it fair to expect them to be Johnny-on-the-spot covering the news and also get every fact and word right?

I sympathize with reporters today. Their job role is no longer confined to research, interviews, writing, fact-checking and reporting. Now, they need to speed up that process ten-fold, take on three times the workload with shrinking newsrooms AND in many cases promote their own stories via social media channels, as well as respond to comments on their respective sites. Whew. And yes, do I get frustrated sometimes that the same mistakes are being made, sure. But guess what, they are human and in the age of digital — mistakes can easily be fixed.

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