Wednesday, May 4, 2011

PR Industry Fills Vacuum Left by Shrinking Newsrooms

This article by John Sullivan (ProPublica, co-published with the Columbia Journalism Review) talks about consequences of shifts in journalism as well as the history of the public relations field. Here's an excerpt:

The Gulf oil spill [3] was 2010's biggest story, so when David Barstow walked into a Houston hotel for last December's hearings on the disaster, he wasn't surprised to see that the conference room was packed. Calling the hearing to order, Coast Guard Captain Hung Nguyen cautioned the throng, "We will continue to allow full media coverage as long as it does not interfere with the rights of the parties to a fair hearing and does not unduly distract from the solemnity, decorum, and dignity of the proceedings." It's a stock warning that every judge gives before an important trial, intended to protect witnesses from a hounding press. But Nguyen might have been worrying too much. Because as Barstow realized as he glanced across the crowd, most of the people busily scribbling notes in the room were not there to ask questions. They were there to answer them.(Read the whole story...)

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