As background I've been in the PR world since I was 14 years old when I was in sports with the Philadelphia Wings and then with the Philadelphia Flyers. Back as far as then the idea of being friends with media, keeping them informed and being able to talk, present a story angle that was more of a conversation than the so called "pitch." As a blogger, I get pitched everyday, and while I don't accept contributed articles, I do get ideas on topics when the PR person has taken the time to only pitch me on story ideas that will be newsworthy, not simply to meet their client's wishes.
But PR has changed. Recently I was sent a pitch by NordVPN. It included an interesting angle and one which I was half interested in writing about, but the release had holes in it to make for a good blog post, so I sent a few questions back to the person who sent the pitch and release to me. No reply. I followed up a few days later. Still no reply. I then reached out to the person listed on the web site for communications. No reply.
On another story angle I called and wrote the PR contact for ZipCar. No reply. Even worse, the phone number listed resulted in a message saying the number "does not have voice mailbox has been set up yet." This is for the PR person listed on the most recent release. An email to the contact also wasn't replied to.
A third example is how PR people make it so difficult a story isn't able to be written. A few months ago I got assigned to write a story about identity verification in the technology era. Having experienced the situtaion first hand with both physical address and phone number verification, and having vendors like ADP tell me they use Experian to check addresses and Acxiom to validate addresses as well (FedEx) I posed the question to both requesting information about processes, data sources and alternative methods of validation. Acxiom promised an answer and never provided one. Experian said they didn't want to take part in the story. The story never got written.
This is the state of PR and why reporters are now fed up and why "fake news" exists.
Having been a PR pro and a journalist the ability to produce a factually accurate story is only made more difficult when PR people choose to play defense vs. work with media on getting the right story. When journalists have first hand knowledge of what's going it only makes for a more accurate story. Receiving the right answer from the company in question only goes to make for a better and more correct news account.
Unfortunatly, when PR folks don't work in a cooperative manner with media only two outcomes can occur. No story, or a story that is based on what the media thinks are the facts. In both cases the brand loses.
Having worked with luminary brands like AT&T, AOL, Nokia, RIM and breakout brands like GrandCentral (GoogleVoice), StubHub and many others, we always made a point of working with the media, and being cooperative. That approach yielded in successful campaigns and stories about the companies. Media pros know how to do things right, but when they play like amateurs then no one wins and their audiences end up the losers.