July 28, 2008

Journalists as Diplomats

Posted in In the news, Political Punditry tagged at 8:52 am by R

At its core, public relations is defined as developing and maintaining relationships among relevant audiences and various publics.

The definition for international diplomacy must look awfully similar when you get to the heart of the matter.

Which is why Brian Williams interview with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (watch it here) is so fascinating.

It seems that Brian Williams is not simply filling the role of reporter, but also that of diplomat. It’s as though his press credentials transcend the tensions that exists between Iran and the US and allows for the kind of conversation foreign policy has prohibited up to this point.

That being said, I’m sure that President Ahmadinejad was well coached, as all heads of state must be, to have this conversation. Brian Williams stated post-interview that Iran’s President was well-researched and had plenty of facts in his arsenal about the US economy¬† and the oil crisis.

But I keep coming back to the fact that it was a journalist sent to do the job of a diplomat. A man skilled in asking difficult questions in a non-confrontational and constructive way who gets answers of the same caliber.

What’s more, I LOVED that immediately following the snippets of interview, the Today Show had Nancy Pelosi on as a guest to get a political reaction. It just goes to show how much impact this interview has and the kind of progress it represents.

This interview was groundbreaking for a few reasons:

  1. It proves that we as a country can have open conversation with people who don’t share our same ideals.
  2. Sometimes it takes the candor of an interviewer to do the job of a diplomat.
  3. Everything is public relations.



1 Comment »

  1. N. J. Stewart-Smith said,

    Watching Mr. Williams was deja vu of another NBC reporter. Barbara Walter in the 1970’s interviewed Middle East leaders which resulted in a Camp David Summit. Stories and columns appeared about television journalists as diplomats back then as well. And that is important – they were from television – that immediate, demanding medium.

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