Sydney PR agency publishes bloggers charter

Sydney-based agency Network PR has become the first in Australia to publish a manifesto of how it plans to deal with bloggers.  

In a posting on the agency’s blog on Friday, the company says it will  treat online outlets in the same way as traditional media, including giving bloggers embargoed press releases and access to review material. It says it will also champion transparency including not paying for positive press.

Network PR’s stance was inspired by a furore over bloggers being paid to promote the TV show Lie To Me, many of who did not declare it.

In the posting, Lesley White, Network PR’s head of digital, says:

“We will treat online commentators with as much respect as traditional media warrant. What does that mean? Well where the budgets and our access to information and materials allows we will: Provide newsworthy insights that have not yet been made public; Give online media and commentators access to ‘talent’ whether it be in the form of written or verbal interviews, or simply ensuring that their questions are answered in a timely manner; Make sure they have access to the products, services or information we thought they’d be interested in speaking to their viewers or readers about, similarly to a journalist review program.”

She adds: “In short, the online media commentator will be treated as well as but not better than a traditional journalist or reporter.  That means, a reasonable level of spend for them to be able to form an independent opinion on that product or service in line with whatever that industry does to educate, inform or advise the traditional media and reporters in that sphere.”

While Network PR has gone further than many agencies in formalising its approach, it is not the first one to refocus its team. Upstream PR switched to digital “views releases” at the end of last year.

But not every PR agency has made the switch. Earlier this month Duncan Riley highlighted on Inquistr that an agency offered him $10 to write about a new Australian online bank account. He said:

“Now besides the paid for post argument which can be left for another day, apparently $10 in the eyes of that PR firm at least is fair game for a blog with 1.5-2.5 million page views a month. Question is: would the same PR agency offer $10 for a post/ article on a Fairfax property? Obviously the answer is no. So why treat all blogs and bloggers as if they were backyard operations with small traffic?”


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