Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Journalism Week 2013 - Trevor Morris, Public Relations Supremo

Another Journalism Week has begun, courtesy of Leeds Trinity University and their Centre for Journalism - where I am a final year student on a Journalism BA.

I've blogged about Journalism Week previously and this year will be no exception. When not blogging, you can follow the action on twitter via the hashtag #ltjw, the account @JournalismWeek and the liveblog and livestream. We don't just talk about multiplatforming - we do it!

Today we had a couple of firsts - our first PR representative, albeit now resigned from the industry to become our first journalism academic, Trevor Morris.

The theme of his presentation to us was "Is PR good for us?" - an interesting concept to a room full of cynical veteran journalists and their proteges!

Indeed, he asked how many in the room were specifically PR students, and the lone few hands that went up were heavily outnumbered by the 'pure' Journalists!

Unabashed, he pressed on with his lecture which portrayed PR as "hard to describe, easy to malign" in my words. He discussed the steretotypes of the PR operatives, such as the male Machiavelli and the female Strategist - but the truth is actually of a well-connected corporate employee who probably knows as much as his CEO or Minister about the doings of their company or Department.

He confirmed my suspicions about the divide between Journalists and PR staff - the divide between good jobs and pay versus no work and scant earnings, with no medals for guessing who gets what! But more than that, that contention between the camps is actually a good thing. As a citizen, he says, he wants reporters to be sceptical of the PR line - "holding the powerful to account" as we were always meant to do!

Indeed, he freely admits that good PR must 'mislead in order to keep their clients interests' - and equated it with a Journalist deceiving to protect their exclusive. Are these deceptions necessary to our work? Some tweeters were still reserving judgement!

During his busy Q&A, Trevor was clear on his morals stating he'd never lost his principles over his work. At a time when Journalism is still recovering from Leveson, how many hacks can claim the same?  

No comments:

Post a Comment