The relationship between journalists and communication handlers will never be perfect.
The opposite trajectories of the respective professions are actually quite comical.
Modern journalism existed long before modern public relations.
We’re now seeing the transfiguration of print journalism and it’s not pretty.
Simultaneously, governments and corporations are spending more money than ever before on building public relations spin machines.
As print seems to be taking a nosedive, communications departments are the best they’ve ever been.
What “best” means depends on your perspective.
Communications people are there for a reason. In the eyes of journalists, they’re supposed to just be fixers making sure you get what you need before deadline.
For most communications handlers, reporters are the most dangerous variable.
The two sides will probably never fully trust each other, but our jobs depend on some degree of symbiosis.
We must cooperate to get what we want – at least out of mutual annoyance.
Most members of the public wouldn’t want to do either job.
Between journalism and public relations, however, being a communications director would appear to be the more secure job – unless that job happened to be in the Prime Minister’s Office in the past seven years.
Andrew MacDougall was Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s seventh Director of Communications. After more than a year in the position, MacDougall announced he was stepping down on Wednesday to join a public relations agency in London.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper has averaged one Director of Communications for every year he’s been in office.
Only William Stairs, Harper’s first communications director was fired. The rest have stepped down for various reasons.
The secrecy required of the PMO must be a difficult job description to meet for someone who is also supposed to coordinate media inquires.
That same secrecy means most of us will never know what having that job is like and why it seems to be open so often.
All Times-Herald editorials are written by the editorial staff.