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Do reporters hate schools? A PR support group says maybe

“The News Media: Ally or Adversary?” will be the topic of a session scheduled for tomorrow in Texas, at a conference for people who are paid to do communications work for school districts (known in the business as “flaks”). The session description:

Working with today’s news media can be challenging with fewer experienced journalists and education beat reporters. With more sensational, negative and inaccurate stories, critical editorials, and reporters who are indifferent to or hostile toward your district, what do you do? This session will explore some strategies for resolving conflicts with reporters and developing a better working relationship with your local news media.

This kind of mirrors Chancellor Joel Klein’s perspective on press coverage of his reforms, as described recently by Richard Colvin: The reporters heard mainly from sources who weren’t Klein. As a result, they wrote very negative — and, according to Klein, inaccurate — stories.

Head New York City press flak David Cantor told me he does not belong to the New York affiliate of the national group, the National School Public Relations Association. “You never want to be in a club that would have you as a member,” he said as explanation.

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