From time to time I enjoy reading blogs from “jaded” journalists (their own term, not mine) on all the gripes and complaints they have about publicists and other public relations professionals. I find their posts amusing but insightful. Here are some of the funnier posts I’ve come across:
- Publicists saying “I can arrange an interview for you”. Well duh, that’s your job.
- “Please read”. Oh, really? That’s what I’m supposed to do with your email?
- Don’t talk to me like I’m 14 yrs old, OMG.
- Do you know my kids? Do you know when my birthday is? No? Then don’t try and be my Facebook friend.
Yikes, these reporters can be brutal. But behind their sarcastic and sometimes rude demeanor, these journalists are really helping us do our jobs better. When you read “the more your write, the less I read”; that should tell you that your pitches need to be concise and to the point. If you hear “I hate phone calls and voicemails”, that means you better start honing your typing skills. When speaking to a reporter for the first time, ask if it’s ok to contact them by phone, or if they prefer emails instead. No two reporters are exactly the same, and good publicists will find out which ways their contact likes to be pitched best.
Getting complaints and rough comments from reporters can be dejecting, but it’s all part of the learning process. Yes, some journalists can be just plain mean to deal with no matter how you approach them — ask any publicist; boy do we have stories to tell. These jaded journalists deal with as many as hundreds of pitches daily, so for them to tell you what works and what doesn’t is extremely helpful. It will make you better at your job, which in return will help you better represent your clients.