What Comes First: the TV Chicken or the PR Egg?


News Data Network (4Media) are proud to announce the arrival  of former Producer of The One Show, Sinead Gilgunn.  Sinead has worked across every national broadcaster for the past ten years on some of the country’s biggest and most popular shows. Credits include The One Show, This Morning, The Paul O’Grady Show, Big Brother, Don’t Tell the Bride, and Something for the Weekend, to name but a few.  In her first blog post she explores what it feels like to be on the other side of a pitch…

It’s safe to say that not much TV happens without PR stories and not much PR is successful without the TV platform. But really, TV and PR are not that dissimilar. So why then as PR people does it feel that approaching a TV show with a story is like approaching the most popular girl at school with your new Dolcis shoes (circa 1997) and asking, ‘Am I now cool enough to be in your gang?

TV shows and their items and guests are often a by-product of what was sent in to the editorial team by an enthusiastic member of a PR team. I should know, I’ve been sent tons of press releases in my time working in TV. Everything from a blow up library to promote the lack of libraries in the north, to HP and bacon smelling perfume just, well just why not? As a TV Producer, it was mine and my team’s job to take what was on a press release and turn it into something interesting- “taking 2D to 3D”.

But now I’m on the other side – I’m now in the PR seat- and it’s kind of strange seeing how differently you’re perceived when you’re not the one making ‘hard hitting TV…about the fact that Ellen DeGeneres enjoys trampolining.’ But what’s important to remember when trying to sell in to TV is that often they really are dying for a story or research to turn into an item or debate. The biggest stunt The One Show pulled off happened this year when a PR person contacted my team about the motocross stunt team Nitro Team. “The guys could perform their back flips on huge bridges in the piazza outside the iconic BBC sign?!” So said the PR lady. Yeah OK love, like that will happen. Needless to say my editor LOVED it and it was a huge success for both us and Nitro Circus.

So, what comes first then, the TV chicken or the PR egg? Much like the age-old scientific question- it would seem one can’t happen without the other. Good to remember when a snotty researcher tells you the schedule is full until 2022….and then rings you two days later begging for a story.

By Sinead Gilgunn

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