4421Re: [prbytes] Re: PR Tools for 2009 (please add on)
- Jan 8, 2009First, please allow me to clarify. I am not a pr pro. I'm a writer and a reporter. Reading the postings below, I regret that these interactions did not fare well. However, as with any situation, there is always something to be learned. The most recent posting, from pr.pros (and please forgive my ignorance as I have not looked back at all the postings that prompted this exchange), suggests a degree of animosity. I am not here to judge whether that animosity is justified or not. Rather, it simply made me think of a situation I dealt with while writing for a newspaper. I'll write up a short description of that situation below. For the briefer version of that story, suffice it to say that the person in the pr position became angry with me because she didn't like a question that I asked. As a reporter, it wasn't my job to ask questions she liked. She should have anticipated the possibility that I would ask difficult questions. More importantly, when, as I saw
it, she lost her temper, she shut the door on open communication. In my mind, it's the equivalent of a public relations agent waving the white flag. There may be times when it is appropriate for a pr agent to be gruff or impatient with a reporter, though I'm not sure when that would be the case. However, if the woman's behavior was appropriate, then most businesses could save themselves the cost of public relations and, instead of hiring anyone to perform these duties, merely inform their receptionists to hang up immediately anytime someone from the media calls.
I recently sent a posting to this site informing our membership about the new company I have started -- Positive Action Development (positiveaction.vpweb.com). Included in the posting was a link to my new Web site. If anyone wants to take a look at it, I would appreciate your input, even if your response is to tell me that my Web site "sucks." If you think that it does, I would be thrilled if you provide a slightly deeper explanation of why it sucks. I promise you, I won't be angry and I won't ask to be removed from the group because of any such comments.
A fuller account of the story from above (everthing stated above and below related to this issue constitutes my personal opinion):
While serving as a sports editor with a weekly newspaper (it was a small paper and my responsibilities went beyond sports), I was covering a story about a 70-percent increase in the number of animals euthanized by the county's animal control department. Animal Control, a division of the county's health department, was in a virtual war with the volunteers at the animal control center as the volunteers were deeply upset by the increased number of animals that were put down. The head of the animal control center was eventually removed from her position and given a new job within the health department. The communications officer for the health department (the governmental equivalent of a public relations agent) took over as the interim director of animal control. Of course, she also served as a primary source and contact as I worked on the series of stories that came out of the controversy.
Eventualy, the health department hired a new director for animal control. I was given an opportunity to come in for an interview of the new director. The communications officer was also there. In fact, I felt that she took control of the inteview, held it to a limited perioed of time based on what she described as prior commitments (which hadn't come to the surface when we setup the appointment) and then interceded to answer the majority of the questions I posed to the new director. My sense, afterwards, was that the inteview was too short and only scratched the surface in terms of the information I hoped to gleen from it. As the interview was ending, however, one piece of rather startling information did come to light. The prior position held by the new director of animal control was managing and caring for animals for a pharmaceutical company in the region. In other words, he took care of the animals used for experiments.
Such a revelation was not likely to calm the waters as far as the volunteers were concerned. In fact, I felt that it seemed like a rather odd hire considering the situation that, as I understood, had brought on the need to bring in a new director in the first place. Such a background did not mean that he was the wrong person for the position. However, it would have been extremely unprofessional of me not to pursue the question further. As I was not given a chance to do so at the time of our scheduled interview, I attempted to contact the new director hoping for a chance to ask him about the issue and, at the same time, hoping to fill out the interview without, what I saw as, the communications officer's interference. My calls were not returned. I even went back to the center but was unable to meet with the new director. I had the distinct impression I was being avoided (incidently, and just something to consider for future reference, when a reporter
feels he or she is being avoided, it automatically sets off alarms in the reporter's head).
I then called the communications officer and asked her if I could speak with the new director again. She suggested that he was too busy and I, therefore, posed my questions directly to her.
I felt she was not entirely receptive to the question about his prior experience. Finally, I pointed out to her that, when I told the readers, inlcluding the volunteers, that he was hired from work with an animal laboratory, the readers and volunteers would probably think the health department had essentially "let the fox loose in the hen house." Her reaction, in my opinion, was to go balistic. She yelled at me and hung up.
I did not agree with the way the publisher and editor at the newspaper I worked for handled the situation when I brought it to their attention. The publisher spoke of the need to give the new director a chance. My sense was that we best gave him a chance by allowing him to respond to the concerns his past experience raised. If he and the communications officer refused to answer my calls or respond, such should be duly noted in the story. While the issue of his background was included in the story it was not as high in the story as I would have seen fit were it my call. As a result, in my opinion, the communications officer was fortunate. If it was my call, the new director's background would have been the focus of the headline and the primary focus of the story.
While the communications offficer may have been fortunate in this instance, what she had developed with me, a reporter she might have to deal with in the future, was an adversarial relationship and, for me, a question of trust. In other words, anytime I had to speak with her again, whatever she told me would run through a finer filter than what might otherwise have been the case.
Richard Rostron, President
Positive Action Development
1112 N. Madison St.
Woodstock, IL 60098
From: pr.pros <pr.pros@...>
Sent: Thursday, January 8, 2009 12:41:52 PM
Subject: [prbytes] Re: PR Tools for 2009 (please add on)
Please contact their owner. You are paranoid.
Corrective criticism Ned, your website sucks.
I didn't spam this group. I wanted to start a list of tools for PR
professionals. It appears to me that I walked into a room filled
with uptight, self-righteous, judgemental, paranoid..and let me not
forget RUDE individuals.
Sorry to crash this party.
Moderator, please kindly remove me from this group. And, do you
honesttttlllly think that I'd put MY link to a EMAIL GROUP without
engaging you -- FIRST about my product. That's true EMAIL MARKETING.
You are ALL rude!
I hope that I am allowed to have a rebuttal since my posts are
moderated. These jerks are trulllllllly closed minded.
-- In prbytes@yahoogroups .com, "Eduardo Giansante" <edubatera@. ..>
>you let us
> agree 100% Ned.
> That's not PR, that's spam.
> On Wed, Jan 7, 2009 at 9:38 PM, Ned Barnett <ned@...> wrote:
> > Dear pr.pros
> > First, I suggest that if you want the help of your colleagues,
> > know who you are. It's just professionally courteous to sign youremails,
> > especially if you're not well-known on the list - plus, you'remore likely
> > to get helpful answers.improving
> > Second, if you're going to be a pr.pro, I suggest you work on
> > yourstudent's
> > grammar and syntax; frankly, your message came across like a
> > queryasking us
> > for a paper, and this list doesn't particularly welcome students
> > to do their class work for them (that happens more than you mightthink).
> > Of course, it could just be a typo - God knows how many of thoseI've
> > "committed" - but when asking for help, I suggest you put yourbest foot
> > forward.might want to
> > Third, and this is the biggie, if you're asking for help, you
> > set the stage by telling us why you want that help. Give ussomething that
> > would put your question in context.I do know
> > For instance, while I'm not the world's Guru on online resources,
> > that I'm now in my 37th year in PR, and that since 1994, many ofmy clients
> > and most of my communications (with clients and the media) havetaken place
> > online. Yet I don't have a clue what you're really asking, norwhat you
> > really want that information for.Shankman's Help a
> > I can tell you that lots of people speak highly of Peter
> > Reporter site - I've not yet found it helpful, but then I haven'tinvested
> > the time needed to work that list. I generally stick to ProfNet,but then
> > again, that's personal choice (and an expensive one) which hasborn fruit
> > for me since the late 90s. I can't be totally objective aboutPeter's site
> > - he and I had a falling out a few years ago, and my recent lackof
> > postingsbe bygones
> > from that list suggest that Peter's not yet ready to let bygones
> > - but that's got nothing to do with his service. I know mywebmaster thinks
> > highly of it.million
> > I've never heard of Pitch Engine - it may be one of those multi-
> > spring-up-from- nothing PR sites that seem to have proliferated. Iget
> > postings almost daily from half a dozen social networking sitesthat send
> > methem. Or
> > (to me, useless) information about PR . perhaps this is one of
> > perhaps it's the best thing since sliced bread. Since I've got noclue what
> > you want it for, I can't even check the site out and give you anopinion.
> > I've at least heard of Media Bistro, but since I'm not looking to
> > lunchI've
> > with a reporter (they always stick me with the check) and because
> > foundhoping to
> > Internet meals to be way-low in calories (I prefer analog meals to
> > digital),
> > I can't give you an opinion there, either.
> > So . let us know who you are, why you're asking and what you're
> > doonline list of
> > with the information, and some of us may be able to help.
> > As for kicking this off for 2009, kicking what off? Another
> > PR resources nobody's got time to work with? Or collectingunclear and
> > unfocused emails? Give us a clue, here, pr.pros, what do you havein mind?
> > How will kicking "this" off for 2009 help us? Maybe this is thebest idea
> > of the 21st Century, but based on what you've told us (and, moreimportant,
> > what you haven't told us), I don't have a clue. I suspect none ofthe
> > othersam, and
> > here on this list do, either. However, they're more polite than I
> > are waiting for some curmudgeon like me to ask. So here you go -the ball's
> > back in your court.me
> > Give us a clue? Thanks
> > Ned
> > Ned Barnett, APR
> > Marketing/PR Fellow, American Hospital Association
> > Barnett Marketing Communications
> > 420 N. Nellis Blvd. A3-276
> > Las Vegas NV 89110
> > 702-696-1200 - ned@... <ned%40barnettmarco m.com>
> > http://www.barnettm arcom.com
> > From: prbytes@yahoogroups .com <prbytes%40yahoogro ups.com> [mailto:
> > prbytes@yahoogroups .com <prbytes%40yahoogro ups.com>] On Behalf Of
> > pr.pros
> > Sent: Tuesday, January 06, 2009 7:08 AM
> > To: prbytes@yahoogroups .com <prbytes%40yahoogro ups.com>
> > Subject: [prbytes] PR Tools for 2009 (please add on)
> > I am listing the only tools that I know of that really has helped
> > out-does anyone have listservs or any links that help PRs get tothe
> > right person?this off
> > 1. http://www.helparep orter.com/
> > 2. http://www.pitcheng ine.com/ (HAVENT TRIED but saw on twitter)
> > 3. http://www.mediabis tro.com
> > 4. this egroups (please list any that you think we should add)
> > I am not sure if this was done before but perhaps we can kick
> > for 2009?[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
> > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
> -Edu Giansante
> http://edugiansante .com
> http://www.e- dublin.com. br
> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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