By Gina F. Rubel
Special to the Legal
During the past 20 years, I have interviewed hundreds of journalists. Without fail, they share the same “pet peeves” and stories of what often leads to additions on their blacklists. Some of the most common offenses include:
· Sending a press release or media pitch that has nothing to do with the reporter’s beat;
· Misspelling the reporter’s name;
· Not returning a call or having a secretary call to say, “We have no comment;”
· Contacting the journalist or producer at the time of their deadlines;
· Thinking your story is newsworthy when indeed, no one really cares;
· Sending gifts with the expectation of media coverage in return;
· Not reading, listening or viewing the media outlet being pitched;
· Being CC’d on an e-mail that goes to every other reporter as opposed to tailoring the story to the individual outlet; and
· Sending faxes (they’re a thing of the past).
I recently reached out to some journalist friends via social media (LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter) asking, “What are your pet peeves?” Here’s is what they said (anonymously):
“Not giving sufficient heads-up for an event. Please don't call us Friday afternoon and expect us to be there Saturday morning to cover an event you've been planning for months. Give us as much lead time as possible. With smaller staffs and a shrinking news hole, it's difficult to get events covered, especially on a last-minute basis.”
“The desire to share information or complain about someone or something that has wronged you while refusing to share your name or answer questions. We can't help you without knowing who you are and the full scope of your problem. Media outlets use unnamed official sources all the time but we know their identities and have vetted them before they ever make it to publication.”
“Smokers. I just don't understand how in this day and age people continue to smoke! I get especially annoyed when I have to interview a smoker face-to-face during my television program. Blacklist!”
“Asking us to cover confidential settlements or not to share the names of the parties. Why on earth would someone think we could cover a story where they can’t share the specifics? If it’s confidential, don’t try to capitalize on it through media relations.”
Although more focused on product pitches, for an interesting blog about the do’s and don’ts of media pitching, check out David Pogue’s “Perfect PR pitches: NYT tech columnist picks his favorites” post for Ragan Public Relations.
So with all of this, do you have something to add?
Gina F. Rubel is the owner of Furia Rubel Communications Inc., a public relations and marketing agency with a niche in legal communications. She maintains a blog at www.ThePRLawyer.com, is a regular contributor to The Legal Intelligencer’s blog and blogs for The Huffington Post (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/gina-furia-rubel). You can find her on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/ginafuriarubel or follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/ginarubel. For more information, go to www.FuriaRubel.com or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.