Combining PR with journalism: How to set a straight course

  • 21 October, 2016
  • Kate Simon

Plain sailing: Journalists who also work in PR must never write about their clients. Photo: Rachel Graham

“You’ve gone to the dark side!” Tell a journalist that you’re now dabbling in PR and brows furrow. Tell a potential client that you sometimes still work as a journalist and their eyes light up at the prospect of you being able to write and place articles about their product.  No. PR and journalism – never the twain shall meet.

Except, in these days of multi-skilling and portfolio careers, they do.

Traveltappers was co-founded by a former national newspaper travel editor, but we’re not the first (or last) PR agency to include journalists in our ranks. In fact, only one member of our team isn’t a journalist – she just happens to be the best PR we met while working as full-time travel writers.

We’re still working journalists – The Sunday Telegraph just published a piece by our Kate on Antigua Sailing Week – yet we’re comfortable with our split personality because we never write as journalists about our clients.

We don’t slip mentions of them into commissioned articles that we undertake as individuals. This would be crossing a line, one that would compromise our credibility and integrity in both sectors – it would guarantee that we’d never be commissioned to write an article again and editors would be reluctant to cover our clients’ stories. And quite right too.

Instead, in our PR work we use our editorial skills and experience to create story ideas that we know will capture the interest of journalists and we work hard to consider which ideas appeal to certain publications, to dovetail with our clients’ goals.

And our writing and editing expertise mean we can turn around quality content and communications materials at speed, offering maximum efficiency and return on investment for our clients.

PR and journalism can meet, they just need to keep either side of a clearly marked line.