Gatekeepers and Accountability

The focus of the final week of this quarter has been the relationship between journalists and public relations practitioners. A symbiotic relationship, beneficial for both involved as the public relations worker is seeking positive media representation for their client while journalists seek content to produce stories. Essentially, the public relations worker has material, which if the journalist picks up, makes the hunt for stories much easier. They no longer have to actively pursue a story, they are simply given it.

This relationship can be problematic as it has a tenancy to undermine the integrity of the journalist and brings into question how critical their work can be. They are less inclined to criticise or look deeper into their source or even validate claims and stories with external stories as it may undermine their relationship with the public relations. This creates a pitfall in terms of the journalist’s ability to hold companies, politicians and high profile individuals to account.