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4424RE: [prbytes] Re: PR Tools for 2009 (please add on)

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  • Duncan Matheson
    Jan 8, 2009
      It's communications people who act like that that give us a bad name. First
      question is why was she sitting in on the interview in the first place? I
      agree she dodged a bullet because of the response of the newspaper
      management. Her reaction suggests there was much fear over the guy's BG and
      that it was not something they were comfortable with. I expect it would lead
      to more anxiety by the staff, which means there's another chapter to be
      written. Be interested to know how it plays out. Interesting case study.

      Duncan Matheson

      Bissett Matheson Communications Ltd.

      Fredericton office (506) 457-1627



      From: prbytes@yahoogroups.com [mailto:prbytes@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of
      Sent: January-08-09 3:43 PM
      To: prbytes@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: Re: [prbytes] Re: PR Tools for 2009 (please add on)

      First, 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
      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
      (815) 690-8433
      pad_services@ <mailto:pad_services%40live.com> live.com

      From: pr.pros <pr.pros@yahoo. <mailto:pr.pros%40yahoo.com> com>
      To: prbytes@yahoogroups <mailto:prbytes%40yahoogroups.com> .com
      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@. ..>
      > 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,
      you let us
      > > know who you are. It's just professionally courteous to sign your
      > > especially if you're not well-known on the list - plus, you're
      more likely
      > > to get helpful answers.
      > >
      > > Second, if you're going to be a pr.pro, I suggest you work on
      > > your
      > > grammar and syntax; frankly, your message came across like a
      > > query
      > > for a paper, and this list doesn't particularly welcome students
      asking us
      > > to do their class work for them (that happens more than you might
      > > Of course, it could just be a typo - God knows how many of those
      > > "committed" - but when asking for help, I suggest you put your
      best foot
      > > forward.
      > >
      > > Third, and this is the biggie, if you're asking for help, you
      might want to
      > > set the stage by telling us why you want that help. Give us
      something that
      > > would put your question in context.
      > >
      > > For instance, while I'm not the world's Guru on online resources,
      I do know
      > > that I'm now in my 37th year in PR, and that since 1994, many of
      my clients
      > > and most of my communications (with clients and the media) have
      taken place
      > > online. Yet I don't have a clue what you're really asking, nor
      what you
      > > really want that information for.
      > >
      > > I can tell you that lots of people speak highly of Peter
      Shankman's Help a
      > > Reporter site - I've not yet found it helpful, but then I haven't
      > > the time needed to work that list. I generally stick to ProfNet,
      but then
      > > again, that's personal choice (and an expensive one) which has
      born fruit
      > > for me since the late 90s. I can't be totally objective about
      Peter's site
      > > - he and I had a falling out a few years ago, and my recent lack
      > > postings
      > > from that list suggest that Peter's not yet ready to let bygones
      be bygones
      > > - but that's got nothing to do with his service. I know my
      webmaster thinks
      > > highly of it.
      > >
      > > 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. I
      > > postings almost daily from half a dozen social networking sites
      that send
      > > me
      > > (to me, useless) information about PR . perhaps this is one of
      them. Or
      > > perhaps it's the best thing since sliced bread. Since I've got no
      clue what
      > > you want it for, I can't even check the site out and give you an
      > >
      > > I've at least heard of Media Bistro, but since I'm not looking to
      > > lunch
      > > with a reporter (they always stick me with the check) and because
      > > found
      > > 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
      hoping to
      > > do
      > > with the information, and some of us may be able to help.
      > >
      > > As for kicking this off for 2009, kicking what off? Another
      online list of
      > > PR resources nobody's got time to work with? Or collecting
      unclear and
      > > unfocused emails? Give us a clue, here, pr.pros, what do you have
      in mind?
      > > How will kicking "this" off for 2009 help us? Maybe this is the
      best idea
      > > of the 21st Century, but based on what you've told us (and, more
      > > what you haven't told us), I don't have a clue. I suspect none of
      > > others
      > > here on this list do, either. However, they're more polite than I
      am, and
      > > are waiting for some curmudgeon like me to ask. So here you go -
      the ball's
      > > back in your court.
      > >
      > > 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 to
      > > right person?
      > >
      > > 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
      this off
      > > for 2009?
      > >
      > > [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]

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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