Hate journalists? Here’s what a startling experiment revealed

PR pros’ animosity toward members of the Fourth Estate ranges from mild disdain to unbridled contempt. Modifying your perspective might mitigate your ill will toward news media types.

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I’ve worked with many people who mistrust or dislike members of the news media.

One recent group of trainees from a public entity was more emphatic in their hatred of journalists than I’d ever encountered before.

This group constantly felt besieged by a rapacious press corps that couldn’t be satiated, and they believed that reporters were far too busy pursuing their own predetermined agendas to give them a fair shot.

Given the hostility of this group toward members of the press, I decided to try something different. The result was striking, if not outright shocking.

Instead of playing the role of reporter (as I usually do in media training sessions), I decided to divide the group in half.

The first group played their usual role of serving as corporate spokespersons. I gave them a scenario to work with, asked them to develop their messages and media strategy, and told them to assign a person who would deliver a press conference.

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