A public relations campaign offering reporters the chance to win a trip to New York for using a newly created word in their stories is under fire from media experts.

Public relations company Pead PR announced the "media competition" this week promoting the use of the word "starkish" - an adjective created to describe something with a sense of proportion and good taste.

University of Canterbury journalism school head Jim Tully said the campaign created a conflict of interest for journalists.

"I'd be worried about it," said Tully. He said it was "sinister" that the full context of the campaign had not been revealed.

Journalists Training Organisation executive director Jim Tucker said the promotion was trying to attack the integrity of the news, and he would be surprised if it worked.

"I'm sure that if editors knew this was happening they'd be issuing instructions to their reporters that anyone caught doing it would be in trouble," said Tucker.

Pead PR's Deborah Pead said she had no problem "incentivising" reporters to use a word, as language was constantly evolving.