This same story wound up in my inbox before Sky News ever covered it. To be fair, we all got the email at the same time. Travel insurance firm LV= commissioned a study finding that (surprise) our luggage is really valuable. Some PR hack typed up a press release, emailed it to a mile-long list of media contacts, and waited for lazy journalists to gobble up the low-hanging story.
Crisis specialists, meanwhile, are former journalists who help corporations and governments do PR damage control in the wake of some colossal cock-up. They're experts on what is, or isn't, a story -- provided it's about their client. If you've accidentally sold poisoned Tylenol to children or gassed a teeny-weeny factory full of 3,800 workers, Burson-Marsteller has a team of Dark Side journalists ready to rehabilitate your ass.
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"It turns out lightsaber pens were a bad idea. And also desks don't stop lightsabers."
Think that's pessimistic?
I was at a conference just a couple of weeks ago, and one journalist asked a PR rep if he was allowed to write a story. Edward R. Murrow didn't just spin in his grave at that query; he catapulted out of it like a jack-in-the-box and started choking bitches.
His choke-a-bitch face and his journalism face are the same.