I have always wanted to write about why I decided to leave public relations, but held my fingers time and time again as I didn’t want to sound bitter, petty or ungrateful.
However, this morning I read an article by Karamjit Singh called “Are journalists so special?” and it struck a nerve, particularly this bit:
In fact, I have always suspected that deep down in their hearts, those who deal with the media, the PR folk and the corporate communications people in companies, do not really respect the profession. And this is mainly because some of us journalists are quick to ask for a “media price” whenever there is an opportunity.
I won’t say that my lack of respect for local journalists was the catalyst for me leaving PR, but I won’t deny that it plays a rather substantial part.
/cue sounds of bridges collapsing
From my brief experience in the PR industry, I find that the undesirable attribute wasn’t just limited to smooching for media prices, goodies and better treatment.
There’s the ego, hot air, hypocrisy and my biggest peeve, the lack of self-awareness. I mean, yeah they are definitely aware that they are being restricted in what they can write by both government and their paymasters; the corporate advertisers. We’ve heard a lot of those….
But yet, they seem to be strangely unaware of the results of those restrictions: unreadable hot mess. Atrociously written articles. Are you effing kidding me stuff. For crying out loud, what on earth are they smoking? Okay, stop me.
Ethics? A simple search on the Internet will reveal that there were intances where even the content of syndicated materials from a principle foreign magazine had been changed to put local advertisers in better light!
So we’ve covered ethics. How about simple decencies as a human being? Journalists and writers publically bashing PR people for making unintentional mistakes, calling us stupid, RSVP then not turning up due to traffic jams. Got more? Feel free to add below.
What I am trying to say that, local journalists could do with a bit of humble pie for the quality of work that they are turning out. PR & journalism should enjoy a symbiotic relationship, however in my final weeks of being a PR consultant, calling myself a Pandering Rogue did not seem so funny anymore.
I left PR because of many things that I felt were wrong with my job. The money was good, it really was but at the end of the day, I hardly felt any ownership towards my work.
When successful, it’s because of how well I pandered to journalists, hardly the story. And when failed, it’s because I didn’t pander well enough. Sigh, honestly I really didn’t have that much dignity for that sort of constant beating down.
Of course, I had wonderful, wonderful clients and media friends who made me feel so appreciated and treasured that I felt like just being with them forever (you know who you are), but these precious few numbers in the single digit and sadly, that’s just not enough for me.