There are many challenges associated with writing for the media. Several pitfalls related to media writing coincide with the reasoning for disdain aimed at PR people. Historically, public relations professionals held careers beginning in journalism; practitioners would come directly from the newspaper industry. This enabled strategic communicators to think and write like journalists. Both journalists and PR professionals are skilled communicators. On one end, you have media gatekeepers and on the other, you have professionals seeking to gain access to media outlets on behalf of a client or cause. PR is rooted in persuasion and conviction, however, people don’t like being “sold” on things. PR people are hired to research, plan and develop a strategy to deliver a message and mold perception. Understanding the scope of the profession inherently makes people skeptical.
PR people are responsible for disseminating factually accurate, grammatically-correct, timely and localized information of interest to the publication’s audience. In many cases, PR writers craft releases to pitch to media gatekeepers. The approach used should differ from tactics used when writing directly for the reading public. With the increased use of internet-based media outlets, many publications are eliminating editors. Poor writing becomes a matter of contention between the media and PR writers. Reporters and editors resent PR people dumping news on them that isn’t truly newsworthy. Other negative attributes include formula writing, bad verbs and quotes, excessive titles, subjective adjectives, overhyped statements and fluff.
PR professionals are often placed in a difficult position when the clients they represent are adamant about the inclusion of certain information. An example of poor insertion at client request include direct quotes from the CEO in the lead. Other reasons for media professionals disliking PR people include not adhering to the AP Stylebook, and not including all information in the release such as social media links, audio/visual links and key contacts.