Posted 29 May 2002 - 06:57 AM
To what degree do you rely upon, are influenced by and are annoyed by public relations efforts of food manufacturers, distributors, marketers, etc.? Having previously worked in PR, we used to say that on an average about 75% of media content is provided by public relations working on behalf of and for the interests of clients. Would you say your food section relys upon PR or is influenced by it quite that much?
Posted 03 June 2002 - 02:58 PM
I can’t imagine holding down my job if even one percent of the section relied on or was influenced by PR.
We get stuff in the mail. We throw it out, or if it’s not perishable we give it to charity. We get packages and bottles and boxes from major food manufacturers. If they looked at the section or our web site even for one month they would know: we NEVER write about such products. We’re reporters. We like to find stuff ourselves. We are not fed information, we do not PLACE stories. We come up with ideas and we get the information ourselves.
I would say that the only exceptions, the only time we write about things that have been sent to us, it’s the occasional gizmo or gadget that we think is worthwhile and cost effective, but it just kills me when I then proceed to look at other food sections and see them writing about the same gizmo or gadget. We look like we’re part of a pack, and I never want that to happen.
Posted 04 June 2002 - 08:17 AM
Just about all the things you listed as part of the 10 PR voice messages I've had to leave those messages (much to my personal chagrin at the time). Towards the end, I just told my bosses that I'd left messages asking 'if you've received the press kit I sent?' whereas I didn't cus I was so jaded about the effectiveness, morality and interpersonal kharma I was involved in.
If I can make one suggestion to make your lives better...I'm not sure how you respond to media directory companies, but if you're ever asked for contact details from Bacon's, Burrells or whatever, you should tell them to include in your information that PR companies are to absolutely not contact you under any circumstances or mail you anything (or whatever limitations you want to set). Perhaps you already do this, but as one of the few concerned PR cogs, I would read those contact notes religiously as they were the only thing that gave me a hint of how to go about (if at all) contacting a writer.
Also, you might want to pitch your boss to give you and all the editors and writers at the Post caller ID on your telephones, and then maybe even Privacy manager. Two things like that might cost some money, but in the long run the paper would save on all the money they spend on asprin.
I have to say that as a rule, I tried to build relationships with media people...help them fill stories out with input from my clients. This was easier with the associations (who typically wanted to provide consumer information) I represented rather than the food companies (who only wanted exposure for their products).
Posted 04 June 2002 - 04:41 PM
Re caller ID: I have it. But, as a journalist, I have to tell you: I think I have an obligation to pick up my phone when it rings. Because, you know what? You never know where your next great story may come from.
And if it's a PR person on the end, I try to be polite and brief. I was a waitress and bartender once. It was a formative experience.