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By Brian Johnson

Journalists, producers, editors, presenters. The media types you’re approaching are a mixed and (occasionally) motley bunch. Like other occupations, they come from all sorts of backgrounds, have all sorts of personalities – and prejudices – and are all sorts of people.

Through the power of their position (sending out information to the rest of us) they can be seen as aloof, even far more intelligent and special human beings. Rubbish.

They have mortgages, fears, hopes and dreams, and often bosses they wish they didn’t have. Some of them are in a perpetual state of fatigue, getting up at 3am so your news arrives at your breakfast time.

For all their differences, though, you do need to understand the special piece of DNA they all share. Because you will have to deal with it.

Media types are genetically predisposed to not giving you what they consider “free advertising”. And fair enough.

You can call it editorial independence, professional integrity, whatever you like. Just talking about it will see them straighten up and stick out their chests. They can go from foul-mouthed aggressors to high-minded saints in an instant.

And yes, we can find plenty of examples of them running gratuitous stories (which, rest assured, they will be able to justify). But it’s not the stray examples of hypocrisy you have to deal with – and whatever you do, don’t point them out!

It’s this DNA response at the core of their sense of professionalism. It means you must be seen to be offering up editorial, not seeking a “help us out” favour.

Remember …

Media types are genetically predisposed to not giving you what they consider free advertising. It is at the heart of how they perceive themselves as professionals. It is their editorial quality control.

This, in many ways, determines how you should write your media message and pitch it.  Because, from the media’s point of view, it’s about the story (not the brand).

This advice is drawn from The Little Red Book of PR Wisdom by Brian Johnson, an award-winning journalist and leading PR practitioner.

  • Some call it public relations, some call it PR, some call it publicity. Others describe it as media relations, even marketing. It’s all about getting media coverage for the story you want to tell, and knowing how to go about it.
  • Whether you’re a PR professional, a manager, a lecturer, a student, an association, an NGO or a government agency, The Little Red Book of PR Wisdom  is your key to getting that coverage – with far more value, impact and profile than advertising alone can deliver, a fraction of the cost.