Who is more trustworthy – PR people or journalists?


It’s an age-old topic for debate, producing compelling arguments on both sides… But who really is the most trustworthy – PR people or journalists?



Journalism regularly tops the polls (see Opinium, Gallup, Ipsos Mori and many others) as one of the UK’s most untrustworthy professions – usually second only to politicians.

Hairdressers, according to those polled, are apparently much more likely to tell the truth than journalists – as are police officers, nurses, doctors, judges and estate agents.

PR people are rarely, however, even mentioned in such polls – although they did score well for trust in a recent one commissioned (perhaps some-what ironically) by PRmoment, topping the list over everyone from bankers to journos.

So… Does that mean PR peeps are more trustworthy than journalists? As a former journo with over 25 years in the business, I don’t actually believe this – but I wanted some unbiased opinions.

One Twitter survey later – as well as very welcome contributions from a TV star, Tony Blair’s former Director of Communications and an indie rock band singer – and the situation still remains unresolved.

A total of 25 people responded to my Twitter poll question: “Who do you trust most – journalists or PR people”. PR scooped 56% of the votes – with journalism only a few points behind on 44%.


Voting for most of the 24-hour period was absolutely neck-and-neck – perhaps because, as Paul Chuckle (of Chuckle Brothers fame) later remarked: “Neither seem to tell the whole truth mate”.


Frankie Francis, singer with Sunderland-based band Frankie & The Heartstrings, was also torn: “It’s tricky – you’d hope journo.

“But journo depends on the news association used to publish a story, and PR’s can spin to however the person paying requires.”


Finally, Alastair Campbell – journalist, broadcaster, author and former Director of Communications for Prime Minister Tony Blair – pretty much summed up the whole situation in four words:

“Depends who they are!”


I have to agree with Paul, Frankie and Alastair. I’ve known trustworthy and untrustworthy journos, and trustworthy and untrustworthy PR peeps. It is unfair to tar all people with the same brush.

Good old Ernest Hemingway once said that the “best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them”.

So, to cut right to the chase – only if a person fails you is it then fair to deem them untrustworthy.




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