• How to irritate a journalist

    How to irritate a journalist

    Journalists are busy people. They very much appreciate PR practitioners who help them do their job. And they get extremely irritated by those who annoy them or hold them back. For PR people who want to stay in a journalist’s good books, here is a list of things you will definitely want to avoid doing, but which we are told by journalists that some PR people so often do:

    Irritating calls
    Ringing to ask if a journalist got your moderately interesting press release two minutes after emailing it. If you build a good relationship with a journalist, they will notice and open your emails. (Phoning to brief a journalist on an important story is of course ok and important)

    Interrupting at deadline
    Phoning at deadline or ‘on the hour’, when journalists are listening to the radio news. These are important times, and not to be disturbed

    Being over-friendly. If a journalist isn’t your best friend, don’t treat them like they are. They just cringe.

    Using jargon and overly-technical terms in your press releases. You are writing a press release for the benefit of a journalist and their readers/listeners/views, not for the benefit of your chief executive!

    Guilt trips
    Taking a journalist on a guilt trip. Pressurising them to use a story because your client is going to be annoyed if you don’t get any coverage is soooo not the way to go

    Taking it personally
    Taking it personally when your press release doesn’t get used. Sometimes a story doesn’t get used. Get over it!

    Not putting appropriate links in your press releases for journalists to find further, relevant information. Such a simple thing to do and so much frustration if you don’t.

    Sending images that are too small or too poor quality – a sure-fire way to cause annoyance. Journalists just don’t have time to chase you for the right size of images (which you should have just sent in the first place).

    Square peg round hole
    Not understanding what a journalist is interested in. Don’t pester them about stories that just aren’t ‘their bag’. (Your survey about toothpaste usage might be important to your client – and it might give some journalists a NiB – but most news desks just won’t be interested.)

    Check back on our blog as we’ll be posting more about the ‘dos and don’ts’ of dealing with the media in the weeks ahead

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