Excellence in Journalism 2014 | Nashville, Tenn.


Improving relations between reporters, PIOs

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Journalists and public information officers converged at a panel Monday afternoon at EIJ13 to discuss relationships between the two professions.

Carolyn Carlson of Kennesaw State University in Georgia presented her study, which surveyed the perception of journalists by public information officers, and vice-versa.

Some highlights of the survey:

- More than 50 percent of public information officers surveyed felt “controlling media coverage of the agency is a very important part of protecting the agency’s reputation.”

- More than 50 percent of public information officers surveyed felt “justified in refusing to allow reporters to conduct an interview if they felt it could compromise agency security or reveal damaging information.”

- About 65 percent of public information officers surveyed felt they needed to sit in on interviews with their client.

Check out some photos below:

Carolyn Carson, the assistant professor of Kennesaw State University, conducted a survey of journalists and PIOs.
Carolyn Carson of Kennesaw State University conducted a survey of journalists and PIOs
Carson's survey found a majority of journalists feel PIOs take too long to respond, while PIOs feel journalists expect too much of them.
Carson’s survey found a majority of journalists feel PIOs take too long to respond, while PIOs feel journalists expect too much of them.
Brian Eckert, the director of media and public relations at the University of Richmond,  says public information officers exist because leaders in government feel they need help with their relations with media.
Brian Eckert of the University of Richmond says public information officers exist because leaders in government feel they need help with media relations
One audience member comments about how she has only banned reporters in extreme situations. She works for a zoo, and a reporter once put the animals at the zoo in danger. Brian Eckert said that, except for extreme situations, "I think banning any reporter is a completely unethical thing to do.
An audience member comments about how she has only banned reporters in extreme situations. She works for a zoo, and a reporter once put the animals at the zoo in danger. Panelist Brian Eckert countered that except for extreme situations, “…banning any reporter is a completely unethical thing to do.
Brian Eckert asks why journalists oppose PIOs to listening in on interviews. Carolyn Carlson responds that she journalists fear they will influence and spin the interview, and prevent sources from addressing controversies topics.
Panelist Brian Eckert asked why journalists oppose PIOs listening in on interviews. Carolyn Carlson responded that PIOs fear journalists would influence and spin the interview, and affect a source’s comments on controversial topics.



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