Public Relations (PR) is a profession that is associated with fun and glamour, and of course, the media! At least, that was the picture in my head. Three months ago, I joined a communications firm which is popular for PR. However, I belong to the digital (social media) department. Today, at lunch we started discussing the relationship between PR executives and journalists. And the conversation that started keeping food bloggers in mind anchored at how terrible journalists in today’s day and age are. Journalists need PR execs and vice versa. We all know that! But what do these execs do when journalists throw up a fit or lose control or demand something completely irrelevant? Let me explain.
Food bloggers: These guys are invited with the expectation of feedback and coverage. But what happens on the flip side? Food bloggers hog on delicious food, gulp down expensive, high quality wine and other spirits, have a merry time, burrp and forget why they were actually at the event. Some at least take the trouble of tweeting. The rest don’t care. Right now, I’m just being the mouth-piece for my PR friends. They have a client to report to. And such behaviour will only degrade you and your so called blogging hobby.
Fashion bloggers: Fashion is another sector that depends a lot on bloggers. Various “fashionstas” like to run their own blog that gives tips on the latest trends, beauty, DIYs etc. etc. In order to feature a particular product, some (I think it’s majority of fashion bloggers) ask for vouchers to the store or free products in return. A barter, they call it. Half the time, or even more than that, there is minimum coverage. But the gift needs to reach their door step on time.
I’m not quite sure if this applies to hard news journalists, but soft news, definitely! These friends were narrating incidents back-to-back. My conclusion is that Delhi media is very greedy. Mumbai, on the other hand, hasn’t reached that stage yet. In Delhi, there are journalists who demand a cab/ taxi that will aid their commute to and fro. If they’re deprived of this luxury, they will ensure that they present the bill so that you can reimburse the amount. This is just one instance. if I start, this will never end.
The aim of the PR firm is to get enough coverage in the media. And I sense that this is a daunting task for these executives. For instance, if the press conference features a celebrity, invariably questions asked are not at all related to the event. Journalists enjoy delving into the celebrity’s personal life.
I could cite a lot of examples. I lost count of the number of instances that were shared with me. I always assumed that this sector was the sloppiest and most annoying. As an amateur journalist (I don’t even know if there’s anything like that), I really feel sad for these friends and PR executives at large. Every single day, I see these guys struggle to meet the clients expectations of maximum coverage. Well, considering that the Indian media is the country’s fourth estate, there’s a lot of importance given to this field. And PR guys are just doing their job. Journalism may not all that fancy, but it has its own perks that we’re not ignorant about.