17th May 2012, by Dan Clifford
At a time when media organisations and politicians were both looking to reverse popularity declines, it is ironic that they find themselves side by side facing the firing squad at Leveson.
And although there may have been some light-hearted opportunities for a bit of fun-poking (apparently David Cameron doesn’t know the difference between laugh out loud and lots of love), the damage done by this situation is far reaching.
I was chatting to a friend this weekend about some national press coverage we were working on for one of our clients, and in that conversation I was asked: a) whether the story was real; b) how the ‘deal’ worked with the publications, and c) whether the media in question cared whether it was a true or not.
This level of cynicism is hardly surprising given some of the revelations that have emerged, but it is a real shame that the value or professional journalists bringing stories to their readers and the PR industry facilitating that have been massively undermined.
Headline filling stories of the antics of various ‘spin-doctors’ have created an impression of a smoke and mirrors industry that treats its end consumer like an idiot in order to direct their thoughts and feelings in a way favourable to their client.
The truth is that good PR could not be further from this. The majority of the time it is about extracting the great stories and messages that already exist within a client organisation and helping highlight them to their audience. And that goes for the media too.
It is as difficult as ever to secure good media coverage, and it relies on information being interesting, unique, available and able to stand up to scrutiny.
Don’t get me wrong – it is essential that the Leveson enquiry runs its course and exposes every bit of bad practice and wrong-doing that has been involved. But I hope people see what has happened as the exception and certainly not the rule.
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