Bureau of Labor stats showing PR’s outnumber journos by a 4.7/1 ratio (205,530/43,630) and New York Times complaint about the “harsh environment” reporters face suggests it’s time for J’s and PR’s to talk to each other.
Personal interaction between PR’s and press is at an all time low while mistrust between the two occupations is at an all time high.
The two trends are connected. “Face Time,” a column in the March 18, 2013 New Yorker by James Surowiecki, said researchers have found that “if team members simply met in person before working together they trusted each other more and performed better.”
Surowiecki was writing about Yahoo’s decision to ban telecommuting because employees were failing to “engage” with each other.
Digital communication is good for planned interactions but there’s a lot of value in F2F (face to face), researcher Ben Waber told Surowiecki.
The relationship between the business press and PR is “completely broken,” said Christopher Roush, senior associate dean at the University of North Carolina J School. He no doubt speaks for many in PR as well as journalists.
How About Joint Meetings?
We suggest meetings, for instance, of leaders of the New York Financial Writers Assn. with leaders of the PR Society whose chair Joe Cohen is based at Park and 23rd st.
Top staffers of PRSA/national could also attend such as VP-PR Stephanie Cegielski.
New York chapter leaders including president Henry Feintuch could attend.
Another pairing could be officers of the Deadline Club, the New York chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, with officers and staff of the Arthur W. Page Society, the group that is most open with the press these days.
Page meetings and dinners are on the record and there is no picking and choosing about which reporters will be allowed.
Gary Sheffer of General Electric is chair of Page and is located in nearby Fairfield, Conn. Paid staff president Roger Bolton is at 42nd st. and Madison ave.
Located in the same building is the Council of PR Firms, whose staff is headed by Kathy Cripps, president. The 110 member firms handle billions in fees of clients.
Leaders of New York Women in Communications, with more than 2,000 members, should also be part of these meetings.
New York leaders of the National Investor Relations Institute should also take part.
The New York chapter of the International Assn., of Business Communicators, headed by Bob Libbey of Pfizer, is another candidate for the meetings.
Editors of General, Biz Press Should Attend
Others who should take part in the meetings include editors from such media as the New York Times, New York Post, Wall Street Journal, New York magazine, New Yorker, etc.
NYT on Aug. 21 headlined that reporters are “becoming targets” and complained about the “harsh environment for reporters at home and abroad.”
Quite often, as NYT columnist David Carr has pointed out, it is a PR person who is blocking access to news sources and information and who instead is delivering “slop.”
Heads of PR Firms Should Participate
Also key participants in F2F meetings would be the leaders of major independent PR firms and PR operations of the ad/PR conglomerates, almost all of which have major offices in New York.
The topic is the crisis in finances and credibility in the media. The financial crunch on the media is having an impact on its credibility, causing a lessening of its independence and objectivity.
A continuance of the decline in media viability and credibility is not good for the nation, media, business or the PR industry. It’s about time PR and the media met F2F and came out from behind their electronic barriers.