Thursday, July 13, 2006

Why PR needs to uphold the separation between editorial and advertising

We have all had the experience of having our fascinating press releases overlooked by publications our clients advertise in. We have all felt the temptation to put a little pressure, maybe more than a little pressure, on editors to give our clients proper attention and/or print the opinion pieces written by our CEO’s. But to go down that road is to destroy the value of what we do.

Placing a story in editorial is valuable precisely because readers consider the source to be credible. To take away the independence of editorial is to destroy the very thing that gives it value. If we go down that road our clients don’t need PR agencies; advertising agencies will be able to place both ads and “stories”.

The behavior you reward is the behavior you will get. If you reward payola journalism, real journalism will go out of business. Even worse, it is but a short step from payola journalism to shake down journalism. When that happens who will protect you? The real journalists will go out of business without advertising.

No comments: