Reporters sometimes get the wrong idea about what we do in public relations. You know the usual, unflattering stereotype: that we’re slimy spin-masters out to manipulate the press. As a former newswoman, I admittedly used to believe this about some of my agency contacts. (I now know it’s only the rotten few that spoil it for the rest.)
The PR world has its own misconceptions about news. Aside from casting reporters as cynics and curmudgeons that are impossible to track down, PR pros often lack an in-depth understanding of how today’s newsroom operates. As the news industry has evolved and struggled in recent years, its operations have adapted accordingly. For PR practitioners, understanding the structure of the newsroom is critical when locating media contacts and crafting a pitch.
Of course, there is no one universal newsroom structure. Major national dailies, small town weeklies and niche trade publications are run differently. However, there are a few traits and struggles that many print newsrooms share in common.