Wake-Up Call: Beat the press

Keep Westword Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.

The Colorado chapter of the Public Relations Society of America held a meet-the-press style session yesterday, as PRSA members and students played a game of musical chairs, sitting down at literal round tables for fast, fifteen-minute sessions with actual representatives of the media. Or what passes for the media these days.

It was stunning to realize that just as the media is changing at lightning speed (as Michael Roberts chronicles in this blog), so is the profession that pitches to the media. If there are no reporters serving as middlemen between public relations professionals and the public, then how do PR people get the word out?

This question was underlined when I returned to the office and learned that the Denver Post had just eliminated six jobs, including that of Stephen Keating, who'd been on the panel with me.

At Westword, our dealings with PR people generally fall into two areas. The first involves all the pitches/releases they send for our calendar sections -- information we welcome, using it to constantly update our offerings, resulting in thousands of current listings on the web every day, and dozens of those expanded in print every week.

And the second? The calls we make to PR people to track down information for stories -- calls that are often distinctly unwelcome, another panelist confessed.

The true pros -- and there are plenty of them -- take the calls, knowing that the public deserves an answer, even if it's a simple "We can't talk about that now." And the others? We have a running list of those whose return calls we're still waiting for. And as mainstream media outlets keep cutting back on staff, these spokespersons should finally have time to pick up the phone.

Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.