Can PR pros practice objective journalism?

The author, shunned by editors for taking a job in public relations, ponders whether PR people can straddle the divide between newsroom and boardroom.

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I had recently taken a job in public relations, but should that matter?

In 2006, John Lloyd proposed in his Financial Times column that journalism and PR do not inhabit separate worlds. He wrote that the “murky and grubby relationship” must be resolved—that is, both disciplines can contribute journalistic content to benefit citizens who “should be told something like the truth.”

However, with such a strong pressure to secure coverage for clients, experts are not convinced that PR professionals can be objective.

“Can, then, PR practitioners write good journalism?” pondered Ted Glasser, professor of communications at Stanford University. “I suppose they could.”

Glasser questions whether readers would trust the reporting. “How would we know whose interests are being advanced—the client’s or the public’s?’

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