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This week Paul is crabby because of some bad PR experiences. He had an interview with one company that probably had seen “All the President’s Men” too many times and was confused about when something can go on background or off the record. Once something has been said, it is on the record. If you want to go on background, make sure you get that agreed to in advance. And don’t going calling on us after an interview and want to take something back. Not only is it bad form, but it just sours the entire relationship between press and PR.
Another all-too-common tactic is to send multiple follow up emails, “hope you had a nice weekend” (it is Wednesday, thank you very much) “and check back with you.” Really? Assume that if you don’t hear from us, it means we aren’t interested. Don’t badger the reporter. We understand that sometimes a PR person is getting heat from their client, but try not to transfer this energy and mess up the relationship between both clients and press.
In the news this week was the Amazon S3 outage on Tuesday. Paul got several emails with offers of sources to comment on the dire state of affairs of the Internet. (Didn’t you know? Neither did we.) This practice of what David Meerman Scott calls “newsjacking” is frequent, but try to do it properly: offer some unique perspective, just don’t trash Amazon or try to be too self-serving, and again, if your email doesn’t elicit a reply from the reporter, assume we aren’t interested. For example, Paul got an email from Commvault’s PR (arguably an Amazon competitor in the storage arena), which had some glimmer of hope, including some of the business and tech implications of the outage.
To round out our sourpuss series, we have this report from the DC-based policy think tank called the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation. The study shows the tenor of tech reporting has become more pessimistic over the years, with a number of contributing factors such as more realistic understanding about the effects of tech, more sensationalist headlines, or just more people (including some news organizations) who want to use tech threats for their own particular purposes.
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