Role of PR Firms in News: the message is the media

Not sure if this fits in the International forum or not, but
probably does.

How much of the “news” is really news? Take a look at this:
“Suits make a corporate comeback,” says the New York Times. Why does this sound familiar? Maybe because the suit was also back in September 2004, June 2004, September 2003, November 2002, and February 2002.

Why do the media keep running stories saying suits are back? Because PR firms tell them to. One of the most surprising things I discovered during my brief business career was the existence of the PR industry, lurking like a huge, quiet submarine beneath the news. Of the stories you read in traditional media that aren’t about politics, crimes, or disasters, more than half probably come from PR firms.

I know because I spent years hunting such “press hits.” Our startup spent its entire marketing budget on PR. At a time when we were assembling our own computers to save money, we were paying a PR firm $16,000 a month. And they were worth it. PR is the news equivalent of search engine optimization: instead of buying ads, which readers ignore, you get yourself inserted directly into the stories.

Read the rest of the article:

Interesting. It reminds me of the brief discussion we had a while back about video news releases being put out by the government. Although the story above is a little different, in that it is not focused on VNRs, and the context is primarily commercial rather than political – I think many of the same issues are involved, especially the fact that all of these practices rely on reporters who are willing to take short cuts to get their story out the door.

More, more … this PR thing … wag the dog… is really interesting.

Third edit…

I wonder how this would work if the majority of companies took the same approach. PR companies would be at war even more than today.

Would it still be effective?