Journalists and Press Secretaries: Understanding the Divide

by Mallary Tenore Tarpley

I wrote a Poynter Online story this week about the working relationship between journalists and press secretaries, following the publication of White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan’s new book, in which he criticizes the press for not being aggressive enough in the lead-up to the Iraq War. The topic of this piece is also relevant given the fact that some journalists are now leaving the field to work toward becoming press secretaries, public relations officers, public affairs officials, etc.

I talked to a journalist who used to be a press secretary, a press secretary who used to be a journalist, a former White House press secretary and others. One press secretary I interviewed said journalists often believe they’re more important than they actually are. Newspapers, she said, just aren’t as highly read as they used to be, and not all politicians read the newspaper anymore. To read more of this story, click here.