Wednesday, November 15, 2006

A little bitch (sorry, pitch) to PRs

Memo to PRs: stop snubbing student journalists.

I see about 300 of these people a year – about a tenth of the number of press releases you send me – and devote a lot of energy to prising them off Google and out into the real world.

I don’t expect them to doorstep criminals, pap celebrities or tap phones. But I do expect them to understand information channels and learn to appreciate the rights they have to legitimate inquiry through pertinent questions.

Learning to interact with people in the know such as yourselves is a vital part of their training in both gathering information and relationship building.

It’s just not good enough for you to tell them: “Sorry, we don’t talk to students.” And yet, course-in, course-out, that's what so many of you do.

I wouldn’t dream of not giving an opinion on a press release a PR student has emailed me. I might make them wait, call me back and not drop everything there and then. But I'd do what I could. We’re all part of the info-go-round after all.

Besides, it’s an investment in the future. Aren't these the very people you’ll be phoning, emailing, and dragging in front of your clients in a few years' time?

PS. I'm well hacked off. Someone stole my bike yesterday. Hacked right through the security chain and rode off leaving the pile of scrap they rode up in behind in its place. Very clever. The CCTV cameras show only someone cycling in to the car park and cycling out.

2 comments:

Andrew Grant-Adamson said...

PR people should remember that bit of research, I think it was for Coca Cola, showing that a satisfied customer on average told one other person, a dissatisfied customer told nine. Being nasty to a student this year may well increase the chance of a press release being spiked next year.

Tony Payne said...

Isn't this exactly the opposite of what PR is supposed to be?