The Oransky Journal

Interesting stuff that doesn't fit on Embargo Watch or Retraction Watch

PR person calls to check if you got a press release? Here’s how to respond

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Those of you who follow me on Twitter have probably seen at least one exasperated rant about PR folks who haven’t bothered to figure out what Reuters Health is interested in, and insist on calling to check whether I’ve received an emailed press release.

When I got a call like that earlier this week, I decided to crowdsource the response I’d give the next time it happened. Here are the results:

  • “Yes.” Click. — John Fleck
  • “It’s lining the birdcage as we speak.” — Rick Murnane
  • “Yes. Did your mom get the fruitcake I sent?” — Joshua Umar
  • “Could you fax it to my Twitter? Or email it to my Pinterest?” — CMI Media
  • “Oh no, I’m not that guy from Reuters. I write for Adult Entertainment Digest. Happens all the time though. Great release btw.” — Justin Paquette
  • “I was wondering who was responsible for this piece of crap!” — Peter Edmonds
  • “What’s your email address?” Searches, adds to blocked senders list. — Liam T.A. Ford
  • “I would tell you, but then I’d have to shoot you.” — Denise Graveline
  • “I wish I could tell you, but we’ve embargoed that information indefinitely.” — Denise Graveline
  • “I’ll tell you but only if you promise to never, ever send me anything ever again.” — Denise Graveline
  • “Yeah, I’m going to reference it in an article about anal warts.” — John Platt
  • “Your call is important to us. Please, continue to hold.” — Charles Bergquist
  • ‎”If you sent it, I got it.” Click. — Susan Brink
  • Barking: “What? No, What? What’s the pitch make it fast I only have a minute. Oh no. No. No, I don’t think that’s for me. Why don’t you try (someone you dislike).” — Matthew Herper
  • “Yes! I got it! And you know, I think it’s just perfect for this piece we’re doing. Can you get your company’s CEO to the side door of the White House in half an hour? I’d like to interview your CEO with President Obama there, to get his reaction to this groundbreaking idea.” — Charles Bergquist
  • A variation on this way of scaring telemarketers. — Andrew Holtz
  • “You mean the one about (make up an important, novel, incredible idea). Oh, oops, you meant that other one…” — Amanda Urban
  • “If it’s not about X, I don’t care.” — Matthew Herper
  • “No. Why don’t you send it again?” Repeat as necessary. — Brendan Maher
  • “When did you send it? Oh, there is… and ‘delete’. Thanks. Bye.” — Andrew Holtz
  • “Oh, yes, indeed. Great addition to the material we’ve been gathering for our investigation into how marketing warps health care.” — Andrew Holtz
  • “Oh, yes, indeed. Great addition to the material we’ve been gathering for our investigation into releases that misstate medical evidence.” — Andrew Holtz
  • “Please hold while I check.” Place call on hold, go back to work. — Andrew Holtz
  • “Can you hang on just a second? (place phone down, but don’t put on hold, pretend to talk to a coworker: “You won’t believe who’s on the line, a PR person from [company]. Sounds like they don’t know anything about the story on them that’s about to hit. Yeah, can you imagine what those poor folks in PR there are going to have to deal with?” (then pick up the phone again) “Hello, still there? Yeah, I’ve got it. I think we’ll be talking again real soon! Have a nice day! Bye.” — Andrew Holtz

Of course, Celeste Young asked: “You answer your phone? So quaint!”

Good point. Maybe I’m still an optimist. Keep these coming, I’ll update the list.

Written by Ivan Oransky

March 31, 2012 at 12:26 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

5 Responses

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  1. Seriously enough with the PR bashing. You think you are all that. Guess what? You’re NOT.

    Sickof urcomplaingabt prexecs

    March 31, 2012 at 9:25 pm

  2. I’m with Celeste on this. Phone? You let your phone number be discoverable by them? Why?

    Bora Zivkovic

    April 1, 2012 at 6:15 pm

    • As a journalist, I want to give sources every opportunity to reach me, in the way they’d like. It’s helped me on deadline countless times, so it’s on all of my emails. But making my number easy to find does of course mean that people unlikely to be sources will abuse it.

      ivanoransky

      April 1, 2012 at 6:20 pm

      • This may be just a personal preference – as a mild Aspie, I hate the phone, period, and let only the closest friends and family (and OK, my boss) have the number. Email still works (though I support the #nomail movement) but people who know me also know that I will respond the fastest to a DM on Twitter.

        Bora Zivkovic

        April 1, 2012 at 6:23 pm

  3. As a newspaper reporter, my approach is the same as Ivan’s. I want the most diverse possible range of people to be able to tell me what they’re thinking. I need to hear as many voices as I can.

    jrfleck

    April 1, 2012 at 6:31 pm


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