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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Hold the front page

First thing today I received an email from a PR. It was clearly sent to hundreds, if not thousands, of media contacts.
The opening line was a hoot. It read "I thought you would like to read these press releases."
I've been pondering the fatuousness of this thought ever since. The last time anybody in the media actually wanted to read a press release was back in the days when there was a fighting chance that the information contained therein had not already been published.
Think about it. If the same information has been sent to lots of other people at the same time then it is of no use to me. It has already been published (albeit to a load of journalists) and I will come to it in time via a multitude of different sources. I do not need the PR to send it to me. If it's interesting I'll find it.
However the very fact that a PR has sent it to means that it is probably not of any interest. This is on the grounds that news is anything that somebody somewhere doesn't wish you to read.
All over the world PRs are being paid to send out group emails containing information of little consequence, sometimes breathlessly tagged as embargoed until a certain date, most of which go straight into the waste bin.
It could be that I'm a unusually cynical old scrote but all of the hundreds of emails that arrive in my Inbox every day are deleted unread unless they are addressed to me personally and give the appearance of containing a message that is for me and me alone.
Presumably they're doing it because the very act of hitting the "send" button entitles them to assure their masters they've done something to earn their corn.
It can't go on.

3 comments:

  1. And there's always the 'Did you get my press release?' phone call to look forward to as well, where you have to inform the PR that yes, you did, and that their release was entirely irrelevant to your publication, which they might have discovered if they'd actually bothered reading it.

    My favourite recent moment was getting a call from a PR pitching a story. I wasn't interested - 'but could I suggest an outlet that might?'.

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  2. I've lost count of the amount of times I've had to say that we don't actually have a reviews/shopping/yoghurt/wildlife etc., section and, if they'd actually looked at the magazines, they wouldn't have to bother wasting their time calling me to hear me tell them that.

    All PRs, no matter what they do, are in main shit. Unhelpful, rude, lazy, clueless, ill-informed and uneducated and not remotely interested in what you might want or need for your publications because it's far too dull and way too much effort to actually tailor their product to yours because it gets in the way of their lunch engagements. It's all got to suit them.

    Grrrrr.

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  3. I had a PR calling me yesterday offering me a "clubbing trip" to Utrecht. When I asked, quite politely, why anyone would want to go on a jolly-up to Utrecht in the company only of PR people and the sort of journalist that has the time and the inclination to take up the offer of a clubbing trip to Utrecht I was told we would be able to "look at the cobbled streets and different buildings and stuff." I haven't felt quite the same ever since.

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