Why is journalism immune from PR disasters?

As my book ‘PR Disasters’ suggests, the term is applied to ‘anything and everything negative that happens happens to a company or organization’, most commonly when PR jobs go wrong.

From my personal research of all kinds of PR gaffes, the common denominator linking all ‘PR disasters’ is, adverse media coverage. Strange then, that in the coverage over ‘The Age’ columnist Terry Lane – who has fallen from grace for his failure to fact check and for reporting a completely fabricated story about Iraq – I didn’t see it referred to as a PR disaster for the journo or the paper.

From Mel’s drunken anti-Semitic outburst to Israel’s current anti-Hezbollah campaign, many media commentators are quick to apply the ‘PR disaster’ label. Yet when a journo or newspaper stuffs up in a big way – by violating public trust or respect – it’s somehow never dubbed a PR disaster.

The consequences are the same – extensively judgement media comment, embarrassment, tainted reputation and loss of personal or consumer confidence. And the restorative path – which Lane has followed quite nobly – is the same, too; regret,responsibility and remedial action.

Seriously, can anyone tell me why newspapers don’t as readily apply the ‘PR disaster’ tag when it clearly applies to their own kind?

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