November 27, 2023
#940 How Flacks Spin Hacks
Journalists report the news. They hear about a story, write it up, verify the facts, and then hit “publish”. Except for the times when they publish someone else’s story…
Jesse Brown
Host & Publisher
Karyn Pugliese
Bruce Thorson
Senior Producer
Tristan Capacchione
Audio Editor & Technical Producer

Journalists report the news. They hear about a story, write it up, verify the facts, and then hit “publish”. 

But, occasionally a story comes in from someone else and then they, more or less, just hit “publish”.

Public relations professionals are master spin doctors. They know how to get the story they want to tell, which may or may not be true (or at least not the full truth), published in major newspapers and sites across the country.

Everyone does this: governments, corporations, institutions, police departments, and so on. And as the number of journalists in the country continues its slow decline, the number of people working in PR has increased by nearly eight times in the past thirty years. With that disparity, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to verify and dedicate time to every story that comes in.

Journalist Cecil Rosner sits down with Jesse and Karyn for a rich discussion about the power that PR firms can hold in setting the narrative in what the public should think and believe. 

Clarification (December 12, 2023): In the conversation, host Jesse Brown remarks that he’s “never read a story from PressProgress that would embarrass or contradict the agenda of the NDP,” adding, “Maybe they can correct me on that.” Taking Jesse up on this offer, PressProgress editor Luke LeBrun draws our attention to five stories critical of policies from British Columbia’s NDP government, and, stressing the outlet’s journalistic independence, notes they have “no rules forbidding our journalists from criticizing the NDP or any requirement that they must dogmatically align with the NDP’s policies or messaging on anything.”

Host: Jesse Brown 

Credits: Tristan Capacchione (Audio Editor and Technical Producer), Bruce Thorson (Senior Producer), Jonathan Goldsbie (News Editor), Annette Ejiofor (Managing Editor), Karyn Pugliese (Editor-in-Chief)


Further reading: 


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