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June 17, 2009

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Dave

As someone working on the PR side, I know there's variety here -- there are PR people who will die on any hill for their employer, and there are PR people who quit on the spot when asked to cross the line, and everything in between.

I'm sure it's the same way with journalists: most of the journalists that we don't hear about often have probably done an amazing job year in and year out of reporting news that needs to be heard. We hear about a few scattered journalists that cross the line, and there are certainly journalists who have stood strong when asked to make changes they didn't agree with.

Maybe the problem is that we get stuck on lumping everyone together and assuming that someone who is unhelpful once can never be helpful in the future. If we treat each new story as an opportunity for both sides to meet our goals, we'll probably go farther.

Richie Escovedo

David, thank you first for moderating the panel and for the wrap-up post, plus sharing your thoughts in this post.

I wish I could have attended the luncheon. I did, however, interact with a few PRSA members who did as well as follow along some of the quotes from Twitter.

I think what seemed to ruffle the feathers of some in attendance was what has come to be seen as the typical broad stroked summation from journalists that PR people block the news gathering process. This is simply not the case, at least not always. Are there PR people who do a horrible job for their organizations or clients. Yep. But the same is true in any industry.

It is true that for public information officers or communications directors sometimes we have to get to the information tucked away inside government agencies. We know journalists would prefer to speak directly with the internal expert and source and in most cases this is our preference too. However, there are times when we cannot provide information for privacy, personnel protection, and other various legal reasons. It is highly frustrating when these actions are then turned around and interpreted as obfuscation when our hands are simply tied.

Maybe it would have been better for these panelists to give examples and wishes of how to make the relationship better for both sides than to slam a profession.

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