Twenty-five years ago an ex-boss of mine set up a news agency in deepest Lanarkshire as he transitioned out of local newspaper journalism. He skirted around the grey areas of ‘the dark side’ before setting up what became the biggest PR agency around. Oh, how he was derided by those carrying the ‘sword of truth’.

I had a wry chuckle then when I saw that some news organisations may be about to turn their businesses into PR shops:Newspapers turn their hands to PR ha ha! presumably ‘selling-in’ to themselves as they go. It got me wondering, again, about just where all the hacks are going to settle as the digital communications frontier becomes the standard operational environment. Many will set up agencies as has always been the way, but ‘the dark side’ can’t seem so shadowy anymore if we are seriously facing the establishment of news agencies from within newspapers themselves.

That same boss had a vision of call centres full of PRs ready to react to ‘Dial-a-Press-Release’, and if current trends persist it might not be too far fetched to imagine sheds packed with communications and journalism graduates engaging in round-the-clock ‘conversations’ on behalf of clients…

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