Guardian cracks down on PR plugs
The Guardian recently updated its editorial code to protect the integrity of its journalism and placed a blanket ban over all product plugs. The new clause states:
“Journalists should not agree to promote through copy, photographs or footnotes the financial interests of prospective interviewees or contributors, or their sponsors, as a means of securing access to them. Promotional information about a subject or author provided in footnotes should be included only where, in the editor’s judgement, it is of genuine interest or assistance to the reader.”
What impact will this have on PR professionals? While some may shun Guardian publications for not agreeing to that much-needed plug or footnote, others have welcomed the move saying it could encourage the industry to adopt more stringent and better practices.
From a PR perspective, there is great value in this move as it will prompt PR consultants to think more about crafting content that make great stories and not to become wholly reliant on celebrity ambassadors and prevent contrived partnerships.
The true value of PR far transcends a foot note at the end of an interview, as Kevin Trivitt, Public Relations Society of America points out, “Modern public relations has evolved far beyond publicity. It is now a multifaceted management function. With that comes greater responsibility and external expectations to deliver value that isn’t rooted in outdated tactics.”