Tuesday, 21 July 2009

The PR Fight Back Is On

This just in from a long term reader and contributor to LiS. I thought it was time to show the other side, mainly as those no-marks as Get Over It "Daily" never actually managed to post one single item.

So, PRs, if you want to offload some of your pain too - you know where to come.

Dear LiS, as a regular reader and flack by trade, I pride myself in not spamming time-pressed hacks by blindly emailing them press releases they won't be interested in. That said, I'm still quite junior and don't know every journo in the country so if I'm pitching a story in an area new to me (especially at national level) then I'll often do a quick ring-round first to see if it might be of interest before emailing anything over.

Last week I was pitching an environmentally-focused story, so was calling various editors to see if it might float their boat. I thought I'd recount one conversation I had, just to show you how thankless life the other side of the fence can be:

Fairly well-known enviro hack: Hello?

Me: Is that Mr Hack?


Me: Hi it's MATEY calling from BLAHBLAH, I understand you're the environment editor for The Newspaper.

FWKEH: What makes you understand that?

Me: Urmm, well, I did some research into people who write about environmental stories and your name came up.

FWKEH: I don't write for The Newspaper any more.

Me: Oh, sorry. Do you still cover environmental stories? I looked you up on MediaDisk and it said you do.

FWKEH: You clearly don't know the first thing about me.

Me: Right. My mistake.

FWKEH: I've had a PRODUCT out recently, and I contribute to The Other Newspaper. If you don't know that then you don't know anything.

Me: I'm really very sorry for wasting your time.

FWKEH: So you should be. [HANGS UP].

I'd just like to apologise to Mr Hack once again. I'm not a specialist in environmental PR, and I'll be honest, I didn't know who he was. However, it's such a shame when people can't see that you're just trying to do your job. Sad face.

1 comment:

Ed Lloyd Owen said...

Ha ha!! This echoes so true...

I tend to counter the accusation that I know nothing about the hack at the other end of the phone with the response:

ME: "Right. My mistake, but if you are an environmental journalist, and I have a story about the environment, I fail to see how my not knowing the first thing about you has any bearing on whether or not you are actually going to be interested in what I have to say. Maybe you could tell me for future reference?"

Sure, more often than not that tends to result in the hack hanging up, but then that was the same end result as you. Sometimes, just occasionally, the hack recognises the bo**ocks it takes to say that, laughs, the ice is broken, and then whether or not they are interested in that particular story, at least they'll remember you next time!

After all, you can't be friends with every hack - you'd never sleep at night!