I’ve spent a lot of time, probably too much, complaining about flaks who don’t do their jobs well–or, depending on your point of view, who do it too well. In the spirit of fair play, I asked myself what journalists do that probably drives publicists crazy. Here’s what I came up with. Feel free to add your own in the comments. (P.S. I have been guilty of all of these except #8.)
1. We don’t return your phone calls.
2. We don’t answer your emails.
3. We don’t answer your follow-up phone calls and emails about the previous phone calls and emails.
4. We suggest, sometimes politely, that you look at our publication before you pitch us again.
5. We say we love your pitch and you never hear from us again.
6. You don’t hear from us for weeks and then you get six urgent voicemail messages and emails from us saying WE NEED CONTACT INFO RIGHT AWAY PLEASE ASAP WHY HAVEN’T I HEARD FROM YOU????
7. We ask for an exclusive.
8. We break an embargo. (I’ve never done this but some journalists do.)
9. We don’t tell the story the way you want us to.
10. We don’t let you see the story ahead of time. [N.B. This is an absolute rule.]
11. We get something wrong.
12. We get something right and it’s not flattering to the company or cause or person you represent.
13. We won’t run a correction or “clarification” you ask for.
14. We don’t appreciate how hard it is to do what you do.