Trust remains key despite improved working relationships between PR and Media practitioners in Kenya: Survey

Relationships between PR and journalists have greatly improved despite existing mistrust. This is according to a study conducted by Rave Motion, a new communications consultancy agency.

The study dubbed Rave Media Lab; Media Relations in Kenya 2015 represents the views of journalists and PR practitioners from 4 print media houses and 5 key Public Relations agencies respectively.Media Relations inforgraphic

According to the survey, majority of PR practitioners (72%) and journalists (64%) note that their working relationships have improved as compared to the previous years when the PR industry was still gaining ground locally.

“The improved relationship points to a better understanding of the demands of both professions by the players. This is a positive implication as brands stand to reap from the publicity services offered by PR professionals on their behalf.” said Rave Motion Official, Zubeidah Maseko.

But despite the improved relationships, the study also notes that trust between the two media professions remains crucial. This is highlighted by 62% of journalists indicating that they frequently source information directly from the organizations instead of the indirect channel via PR practitioners.

The report further notes that this scenario implies conflict between the two professions. As a consequence, it casts a shadow on the side of PR-as the profession depends a lot on the established relationships that are cemented by the credibility of PR practitioners.

“Indeed conflict does exist and can result from trust problems. But this is quite normal and healthy as it helps the two professions sharpen their skills while improving their overall outputs.” said Shem Siteki, a local media relations consultant.

On her part, Zubeidah suggests practicing strategic media relations as a counter to the conflict scenarios that may at times taint the PR profession and by extension, relationships between the practitioners.

“PR practitioners need to employ strategic media relations in their engagement with the media so as to gain credence. This is especially so in cases where conflict may threaten to hurt the PR industry and or existing interactions.” Zubeidah says.

Additionally, the report notes that majority of journalists feel that information subsidy is the most popular form of interaction with PR personnel, as opposed to media events and or corporate events. Conversely, majority of the PR respondents felt that both information subsidy and press events tie in their engagements with journalists.

The survey data was collected in July and November 2015.It was compiled mainly through face to face interactions (each lasting 30 minutes).

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