Has the term ‘newsjacking’ damaged the PR industry?

The word, describing the pegging of a campaign to a breaking event, is bothersome. Here’s one take on how the concept has evolved—for better or for worse—with regard to media relations.

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In the book “Newsjacked,” marketing pro David Meerman Scott hijacked the public relations profession and its media relations function.

Think his perspective might be askew? Let’s quickly review the definition of hijack as a baseline:

· To stop and steal (a moving vehicle)

· To steal (something) from a moving vehicle that you have stopped

· To take control of (an aircraft) by force

As a public relations executive with more than 20 years of experience and a track record for creatively connecting clients to top-tier media opportunities, I was initially amused by the mashup “newsjacking”—but only for about 30 seconds.

I’ve been horrified that it has stuck around; I avoid its use like the plague.

That’s not even remotely in the spirit of what I do or what, I hope, my colleagues do. Outside of suggesting speed, that’s not quite how it works—nor what I aspire to, much less am inspired by.

It’s certainly not how I want to position or recommend anything to a client. “Hey, let’s newsjack this.” You know, because hijacking skills are part of my highly polished repertoire of professional abilities.

Newsjacking versus hijacking

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