Journalism’s Reckoning

Peter Himler
4 min readDec 20, 2020

Dogma Be Damned: Set Real Journalists Free

For many, it would seem unusual, if not highly suspect, for a long-time public relations executive to opine on the state of journalism and to offer remedies for its preservation. After all, aren’t most PR pros charged with positioning their clients more favorably in news and feature stories? (There are strategies to achieve this.)

I thus find myself in a quandary, torn between offering an interview/story idea to a news outlet pre-determined to be receptive to the message, while avoiding those that would not be. Pete Buttigieg’s flirtations with Fox News aside, there are valid reasons why Trump talks to Maria Bartiromo and Biden to Stephen Colbert.

Maybe I’m alone in the industry in wishing that all journalists adhere to a strict set of standards and practices so we at least know we’ll get an even shake. If this fantasy were to come to pass in an age of media fragmentation and public polarization, what would it look like? Would self-selecting news consumers suddenly recognize and gravitate away from the misinformation filling their Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube feeds and instead opt to follow outlets with a shared set of standards?

Peter Himler

Founder, Flatiron Communications; President, PCNY; Editor, Medium; Blessed w/ 3 exceptional sons & a most fabulous wife; Music & tech; Maker of the sauce. #NYC