If you have been in the Public Relations business for any length of time you have seen any number of lists compiled by journalists highlighting things they hate when dealing with PR folks.
Some of these journos make some excellent points. As in everything in life, there are individuals who are very good at their jobs and others–to put it nicely–simply suck.
But, it goes both ways. Maybe it’s time to turn the tables and let journalists know 10 things that we hate about them. Fair is fair.
After more than 25 years in communications, John Landsberg, president at Bottom Line Communications, has pretty much seen or heard it all in the media relations field. He has even written a book that humorously highlights his worked titled “Confessions of a Corporate Sycophant” (LINK).
He began his career as a newspaper journalist and then shifted “over to the dark side” of PR/communications a few years later. In other words, he has been on both sides of the media.
Here is a list Landsberg has compiled of things PR folks hate when dealing with journalists:
1. Don’t call me 15 minutes before your deadline and demand to speak to our CEO about a story you likely have been working on for weeks. It can be a real challenge to pull the CEO out of a meeting with shareholders to meet your needs.
2. When an interview is scheduled for 10 a.m. with a top company officer please show up on time. When you saunter in 30 minutes late it makes me look stupid and also says to the person doing the interview that you do not value his/her time.
3. No one expects a journalist to look like a fashion model. But when you show up in a tank top, cut-off blue jeans and sandals it sends a weird signal.
4. Take a few minutes to read the stuff I sent you as background information about our company. When your first five questions are about the information I sent you it is kind of embarrassing.
5. Make sure your recorder is working before you do the interview. Calling me a day later in a panic because your recorder didn’t work really puts me in an awkward position, and makes you look like Bozo the Clown.
6. Don’t get all huffy when I tell you we cannot comment on some issues. In all honesty, we cannot discuss things for a variety of reasons: personnel, health, financial, proprietary, legal, etc. Deal with it.
7. When I offer to pay for your lunch don’t act like it was some sort of bribe and an affront to your journalistic ethics. If you can be purchased for a lunch it is you who has an ethics problem.
8. Believe it or not, you make mistakes in stories. Don’t get mad at me for pointing them out. It is likely my bosses are furious and I am trying to calm the situation.
9. Yes, journalism today does not lend itself to long-term employment. However, asking me about any potential openings at our company prior to an interview makes me feel really uncomfortable.
10. Do not allow someone at my company to review your story before it runs/airs. I have briefed interviewees ahead of time that real journalists don’t allow that practice. When you do it makes me look stupid.