Friday, January 13, 2006

Why PR people annoy journalists

Happy new year! Three weeks in the Australian sun cut into my blogging time, and I've been a bit slow off the mark in getting my thoughts together for this blog.

I was chatting with a journalist this week, and we got into a discussion/whinge about bad PR practices. I somehow landed on a media distribution list where I'm listed as an editor rather than an inhouse PR Manager. With the names Dow Jones and Reuters in Factiva's tagline, I guess people could be mistaken for thinking that I actually can do something with their press releases.

What amazes me is the sheer volume of JUNK I'm sent from both PR agencies and PR professionals that is theoretically meant to be newsworthy. There was the press release from a tourism PR agency who's big call to action for journalists was a free colonic irrigation if they booked a holiday in the Baltics - "Boweled over by the Baltics" the headline screamed. Eek! Having just seen a documentary on colonic irrigation, I thought it was the most revolting call to action I've ever seen.

Then there was the PR Manager who sent me an unsolicited email containing 6MB worth of pics of her spokespeople, and jammed my email for 15 minutes.

In my year of being on this media distribution list, only one person followed up with me after they'd sent my press release (and she only did so to ask why I had deleted her message without reading it - that it had been declared a public holiday in Kalamazzoo was not of interest to me, so I didn't bother opening the email).

Its no wonder that journalists often have limited patience for PR people. If they're being bombarded with as much useless PR-generated material as I am, I'd resent every email I received.

It doesn't take much to research a publication and journalist to know what they're writing about and what would be of interest to them. Some PR professionals could improve their effectiveness 100% if they merely took the time to do so!


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