Mary Branscombe (marypcb) wrote,
Mary Branscombe
marypcb

Dear PRs; if you don't hear back from me, it's probably no

I've had a spate of people sending me press releases with phrases like 'it would be a big help if you can use this' or 'we hope you can help us out'. That's never a good start; I'm here to help the readers (and my editors) rather than the companies I'm writing about or the PR people that work with them. If I cover your product it's not because I like you or want to give you some help, it's because I think your product is interesting and useful and readers should know about it. I'm sure it's just an unfortunate phrase, but especially when it's accompanied by the suggestion that we run the press release itself, it sets me teeth a little on edge.

I've also had a spate of people saying 'we mailed you the press release; please tell us whether you're using it'. This is always better than people phoning to say 'did you get the release?' but the mathematics of time compels me to explain once that unless it's an individual invitation I'm not likely to come back and say 'I won't be covering this'. Take the 50 emails I've had this morning with press releases in. If I can get a 'no, sorry' mail done in say 45 seconds (assuming I use a signature I've already created), I'm going to spend a good couple of hours a day just saying no. So if it is a generic press release rather than an individual invite, I apologise for not getting back to you but if I don't respond, it's probably no, at least for now.
Tags: journalism, pr
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