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Acceptable Use – Journalist Enquiry Service

ResponseSource Journalist Enquiry Service is designed to allow journalists working on independent editorial to request information and assistance from PRs to aid them in the production of articles. The system is not designed for requests relating to advertising or sponsorship or any other sales-related nature.

Only bona fide journalists can send enquiries and only bona fide PRs can receive them. In the occasional situation where a company or individual is involved in both journalism and PR we ask them to choose to either receive or send enquiries (not both), preferably consistent to which side of their work is dominant.

Why do we have this policy?

There are three main reasons for this policy:

  1. It is not appropriate for journalists to see what other journalists are writing about. This breaks the senders’ commercial confidentiality and leads to issues of unfair competition. This is why we only allow bona fide PRs to receive the enquiries.
  2. It is generally accepted that there is an ethical dilemma if PRs get involved in journalism. There is the obvious conflict of interests where the subject being written about is even remotely close to that relating to a PR’s clients (or colleagues’ clients). ResponseSource recipients are aware of this possibility and the majority object to the service being used by PRs in whatever capacity.
  3. Enquiries of a sales nature (for example offering advertising space or seeking sponsorship) damage the system as the majority of recipients do not like being sold to through ResponseSource and if enquiries of this nature were encouraged they would soon swamp the system, resulting in genuine requests receiving less attention.

The grey area

The distinction between editorial and advertising, independent and paid for, is not always cut and dried. There are three examples of types of requests that exist in this grey area that we are currently letting through as there have not been complaints – though this is under constant review. These are:

  1. Requests from bona fide journalists looking for personal case histories and sometimes offering payment. Often these provide PRs the chance to offer relevant information in a professional capacity.
  2. Requests from bona fide journalists looking for competition prizes.
  3. Requests from bona fide journalists wanting products for their own use (‘blagging’) while also making a legitimate information request.


This policy is for the best interests of the ResponseSource system and to preserve its success as a rapid medium for journalists to get relevant information from PRs.

Important note: We reserve the right to refuse to distribute any enquiry which in our opinion is inappropriate. We use a sophisticated system to weed out inappropriate enquiries. It is developing over time and it is not fool-proof, so it is possible for the odd inappropriate enquiry to slip through.

This policy exists alongside any terms and conditions relating to our services.

Any comments about this policy are happily received.