Journalistes et relationnistes. Une relation obligée où les journalistes s’aménagent des espaces d’autonomie

  • Chantal Francoeur

Résumé




L’submission discute du défi que posent les relations publiques à l’autonomie journalistique. Des entrevues avec 21 journalistes montrent qu’ils sont obligés de travailler avec les professionnels des relations publiques et d’utiliser du contenu préparé par les relationnistes : les structures des organisations forcent les journalistes à s’adresser aux services des relations publiques ; les impératifs de production et les valeurs déontologiques des journalistes les mènent aussi à solliciter les relationnistes ; de plus, les façons de travailler des relationnistes — messages formatés, échanges par courriel, délais de réponse — restreignent les choix des éléments qui font partie des reportages. Les journalistes disent qu’ils ont de la difficulté à avoir les coudées franches pour développer un discours inédit, différent du discours officiel des sources. Leur capacité à rester maitres de leur script est limitée. Ils arrivent à fournir leur propre interprétation des faits, à organiser les discours et les informations collectés, ils conservent leur liberté éditoriale mais à l’intérieur des limites établies par les relationnistes. Les journalistes formatent du discours construit en grande partie par les relationnistes, ou du discours permis, ou libéré, par les relationnistes. Dans le même souffle, les journalistes insistent sur le fait qu’ils se « rebellent » contre les limites imposées par les relationnistes. Ils refusent d’agir comme courroie de transmis- sion. Pour ce faire, les journalistes s’aménagent des espaces d’autonomie où les relationnistes jouent différents rôles : le collègue obligé, l’émissaire, la proie, l’antagoniste et la cible. Les différents rôles attribués aux relationnistes varient selon l’angle, l’expérience ou l’anecdote mobilisés par le journaliste. Un même relationniste peut être un collègue obligé, puis, une proie ou une cible, selon les échanges du moment. Ainsi, les relationnistes font partie tour à tour des conditions de production, des contraintes et des outils de production des journalistes.
 



How journalistic autonomy is being challenged by the public relations in- dustry is the focus of this submission. Interviews conducted with 21 journalists reveal a number of reasons for their escalating reliance on PR professionals and PR content. Among these are organizational structures that are conducive to a dependence on PR services; journalistic production deadlines and ethical obligations that make PR professionals convenient and necessary sources; and the working methods used by PR professionals themselves—pre-formatted messages, a preference for email exchanges, delays in response time, etc.—that all have a significant impact on what makes it into a news story and what is left out. Journalists admit to struggling to produce copy that doesn’t simply reproduce the official line of their PR sources. They are aware that their ability to tell a story the way they want to tell it can, at times, feel compromised. If they still manage to put their own spin on the facts provided—to organize the material as they see fit and safeguard their editorial freedom—they do so within constraints imposed by their PR counterparts. In effect, journalists sometimes see themselves as formatters of a discourse largely construc- ted by the PR profession—a discourse, if you like, that carries the PR stamp of approval and is under PR control. At the same time, journalists insist that they do stand up to the PR profession, refusing to serve as a mere mouthpiece for the latter. It is a paradoxical relationship—at once obligatory, at once negotiable—and journalists’ descriptions of it do suggest that they have some leeway within it. Five autonomous zones of possible action can be identified, and within each, the PR person plays a particular role vis-a-vis the journalist: the obligated colleague, the special envoy, the prey, the antagonist and the target. As regards these roles, they can vary according to the angle being sought by the journalist who mobilizes it; how experienced that journalist is; and how it serves the anecdote being proffered. Depending on the context, the same PR professional can play a number of roles—at once the inescapable colleague, at once the scapegoat or target. One way or another, PR professionals are increasingly an integral part of the conditions and constraints of production to which journalists, as a profession, are subjected, and are perhaps even constitutive of the very tools of their trade.
 
O artigo discute o desafio imposto pelas relações públicas à autonomia jor- nalística. Entrevistas com 21 jornalistas mostram que eles são obrigados a trabalhar com profissionais de relações públicas e utilizar o conteúdo preparado pelos RPs. De fato, as estruturas das organizações obrigam os jornalistas a se dirigirem aos serviços de relações públicas, os imperativos de produção e os valores deontológicos dos jornalistas também os levam a solicitarem o trabalho dos RPs. Além disso, a forma de trabalhar dos profissionais de relações públicas – mensagens formatadas, trocas por e-mail, prazos de resposta – restringem as escolhas dos elementos que vão integrar as reportagens Os jornalistas afirmam ter dificuldades para produzir um discurso livre, diferente do discurso das fontes oficiais. Sua capacidade de continuarem mestres de sua atuação é limitada. Eles chegam a fornecer suas próprias interpretações dos fatos, a organizar os discursos e informações coletadas e conservam sua liberdade editorial, mas dentro dos limites esta- belecidos pelos RPs. Os jornalistas formatam um discurso em grande parte construídos pelos relações públicas, um discurso autorizado, ou liberado, por esses profissionais. Nesse sentido, os jornalistas insistem no fato de que eles se “rebelam” dos limites impostos pelos relações públicas. Eles recursam agir como correia de transmissão. Para isso, os jornalistas criam espaços de autonomia onde os RPs desempenham diferentes papeis: o colega coagido, o emissário, a presa, o antagonista e o alvo. Os diferentes papeis atribuídos aos RPs variam de acordo com o ângulo, a experiência ou a anedota mobilizados pelo jornalista. Um mesmo relações públicas pode ser um colega coagido e depois uma presa ou um alvo, conforme as trocas que ocorrem a cada momento. Assim os RPs fazem parte, dependendo do caso, das condições de produção, dos constrangimentos e das ferramentas de produção dos jornalistas.
 



 


Publication
2017-06-15
Comment citer
FRANCOEUR, Chantal. Journalistes et relationnistes. Une relation obligée où les journalistes s’aménagent des espaces d’autonomie. Sur le journalisme, About journalism, Sobre jornalismo, [S.l.], v. 6, n. 1, p. 144-157, juin 2017. ISSN 2295-0729. Disponible à l'adresse : >https://surlejournalisme.com/rev/index.php/slj/article/view/296>. Date de consultation : 21 mars 2019

Mots-clés

journalisme, autonomie, sources, relations publiques, conditions de production