Home > BLOG 3, Crisis Communication > Blog 3: They are not Spin Doctors.

Blog 3: They are not Spin Doctors.

As a journalism student, I argued sometimes with my friends studying public relations about the legitimacy of their study. Although we are pretty close friends, I often depreciated their major calling them spin-doctors and my friends gave me counter attck that calling me a puppet of advertisers. Well, our argument was more cynical than controversial, and still we have some level of distrust on each of our major, but learning NIMS public information system definitely lowers my distrust toward PR persons. It was great opportunity to learn the fact that there are lots of faithful persons in PR field working as hard as they can to deliver ‘right’ information to ‘right’ public at ‘right’ time.

It perfectly fit with our classroom agenda, and because I studied this material after the mock press conference, it hits chords my heart quite a bit.(I should have know this one earilier!) Throughout this study, I learned lots of new things from PR sides. I learned what is JIS, and JIC, and also realized the important task, and importance of public information officers themselves.

Adding to that, I learned there are lots of similarities between jobs of journalists and those of public information officers. Both of them are people who do their best to gathering, verifying, coordinating, and disseminating information to public as fast as they can. Maybe, sometimes, we hate each other, but I felt a little bit of (very little) brotherhood toward them. This study reduced my bias against PR person, which incrase objectivity of my crisis reporting, I believe.

Are we Brothers or Sisters?

Still, however, I cannot trust PR person 100% yet. Because, throughout studying NIMS course, I found out that, there would be quite a lot of holes that public information officers would miss or make a mistakes. During the crisis, and crisis communications, I found, there are loophole that journalist should fill to. In addition, when election coming, there is pretty good chance that political clout may impact the FEMA process. The previous budget showdown by Republican and Democrats showed that, journalist should give close eyes even before the crisis when state government get the FEMA fund from federal.

In terms of these perspectives, I still believe that journalists have lots of things to do cover the crisis and deal with public information officer from the government or privative organization during the crisis.  From now on, however, I won’t call my PR friends ‘spin-doctors’ anymore.

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  1. October 26, 2011 at 10:09 pm

    Good post. The battles between journalists and PR folks are legion. It is easy to distrust PR people because their work is generally so “promotional.” However, as we’ve seen, particularly in the Sandman article, these skills, when applied to crises and public threats, gain an element of seriousness and usefulness that maybe isn’t normally realized when trying to sell product or increase sales or do the things that PR personnel normally do.

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