News

Valentin Korolko on manipulations between PR specialists and journalists

24.02.2009
Round table: Mutual relations of PR-specialists and mass-media in the recession took place in the Ukrainian News agency on February 23, 2009 following the results of the expert poll Golden Seed 2008.

Heads of leading PR-agencies, representatives of mass-media, experts of media industry and communications market took part in the work of the round table:

  • Denis Bezlyudko, editor-in-chief of Ukrainian News Agency;
  • Nataliya Berezovskaya, director of Starget PR Agency;
  • Marina Guz, director of PRAVDA Research;
  • Valentin Korolko, president of PR-agency Mainstream Communication & Consulting;
  • Valeriy Kureyko, general director of Publicity Creating;
  • Maxim Lazebnik, chief-editor of sostav.ua;
  • Aleksey Pogorelov, general director of UAPP;
  • Evgeniy Romat, chairman of Advertisers Union of Ukraine;
  • Irina Filenko, general director of PRT communication group;
  • Denis Shekhtman, head of PRAVDA Research project group.
Results of the expert poll Golden Seed 2008 and ratings obtained during the poll were made public at the round table. The problem field of PR-experts and journalists interaction, professionalism of the parties and the ethic relations between them were the matters under discussion.

In the course of discussion Valentin Korolko drew attention to the problem of misunderstandings and rivalry which often arose between specialists of the affined occupations: PR-managers and journalists. The former generate news hooks and the latter inform the general public on significant events.

Thereupon, he dwelled upon the widespread dangerous phenomenon called spin doctoring. Valentin Korolko claimed that this practice of correction of how the public perceives particular events or modification of expectations of what might happen is far from being moral or ethical of both PR-specialists and journalists. Spin-doctors are mostly trying to promote them in order to slow down or speed up things, warm-up the public on the eve of an event, making it look better than it is, shifting the interest to another area, managing the events beyond their control, etc., depending on the character of the event and the customers needs. The techniques of spin doctoring include: creation of front organizations for distribution of promotion materials without references to the source of the information; creation and promotion of false blogs on the Internet; delaying the release of bad news until the attention of mass-media is switched to another issue.

He noted that journalists severely attacking PR-managers for spin-doctoring, frequently use that tool actively themselves as a source of exclusive information. Such journalists become accomplices of manipulative influence on readers, listeners, and spectators, and therefore bear full responsibility along with spin-doctors. Mr. Korolkos conclusion was: such practice of deals between PR-managers and journalists, as well as use of manipulative methods and techniques in communications with the public contradicted the ethics of both occupations.