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PRogress not PRfection

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On PR blacklisting

May 11th, 2008 · No Comments

There’s a lot being said right now in the blogosphere about PR spam and blacklisting. For those not following the conversation, “PR spam” is when PR professionals pitch media (traditional or new) incorrectly and become a nuisance by filling up recipients’ email boxes with irrelevant, self-serving, erroneous and poorly written pitches. No one would like that, so you can’t blame the writers or bloggers for getting annoyed. (Although we all get spam emails these days, and hitting delete seems to work for most of us. But I digress.)

It’s shocking to me that the journalists and bloggers who are blacklisting PR people must never have had a good experience with a PR person. How else could they write off entire groups of people so easily? I’ve worked with many reporters over the years who have thanked me profusely for my time and assistance. I’ve spent days running around, tracking down bits of information or access to spokespeople for journalists. To hear that some members of the media, or at least the new media, are categorically banning all emails from people like me is distressing.

Clearly, PR people need to do a much better job. But some of us are trying really hard to do just that. Bloggers, are we truly so worthless that you can’t engage in a short conversation with us, tell us when we’re doing it wrong, and give us a shot to improve? As members of the social media universe, how can you be so quick to shut down connections and opportunities to engage?

PR blacklisting bothers me as a PR person, clearly, but also as a human being. It’s anathema to me that someone could write off an entire category of human beings as somehow below or less than them. In fact, I think it’s nothing short of bigotry.

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Tags: Blogging · PR · social media

0 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Rick Calvert // May 11, 2008 at 1:16 pm

    and isn’t this all counterintuitive to the whole “transparency and naked conversation” thing?

    I understand why someone would be pissed at receiving spam in a personal email address. Gina from LifeHacker does explain pretty plainly on her personal site that her personal email address is for personal correspondence only and not for PR pitches and she even offers up an email address where she welcomes those pitches.

    So for her to get pitches to her personal inbox is a little ham-handed but as Todd Defren has now explained all PR people get their list of bloggers from the same source. The idiot who created and maintains that list (would be nice to know who that was) is the one who gave out her personal email address incorrectly.

    Have they since failed to correct it?
    I hope we find out.

  • 2 Flacks = Quacks? Avoiding PR Malpractice « PR for Pirates // May 15, 2008 at 12:31 pm

    [...] on one side saying, “hey, there’s bacon and tofo besides spam,” or “blacklists = bigotry against PR’s,” and “oh, by the way, quit crying, PR spam is an occupational hazard,” and [...]

  • 3 Melissa // May 26, 2008 at 2:06 pm

    As a PR student about to graduate, it’s not comforting to read about professionals being blacklisted. As students we are taught how to pitch stories and how to target key audiences. There is not a lot of emphsis on what to do when journalists are unsatisfied with your approach. I think there is the assumption that if the journalist didn’t like your approach or news story that they would simply ignore it. Maybe as students we need to be taught how to handle the aftermath of a bad pitch, or maybe there needs to be more tolerance between PR professionals and journalists. What do you think?

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