What Not to Do: 4 Things PR Pros Should Never Say to a Journalist, and Vice Versa

Found on PR News Online:

Sometimes it’s good to go back to basics in the School of Media Relations. I am reminded of this after receiving a dozen emails this week and a few phone calls from PR professionals that were (to put it nicely) off target.  Having been on both sides of the business, media and PR, I know  the relationship between the two is an important one. Even in this social media age when it’s seemingly easy to bypass the media and go straight to the customer, we know the value and saving graces of a good public relations professional.  And the mistakes go both ways.  So, below (and tinged with some sarcasm for effect) are some playbook rules for both PR pros and journalists. Please add to the list, as I know there’s more to say here:

 4 Things You Shouldn’t Say to a Journalist:

1. Did you get my email about [so and so] joining the company?

** I might have, I might not have. But if I’m interested I’ll let you know.

2. I was wondering if you got the press release [on our new product]…

** If you sent it to me, I got it and if I’m interested…(see #1)

3. Can I see the story before it runs?

** Um, no. We are journalists.

4. You might not be the right person for this pitch, but…

** Then find the right person!



4 Things a Journalist Shouldn’t Say to a PR Pro:

1. Leave me alone, I’ll get back to you if I’m interested.

** That’s just rude and unprofessional.

2. Put me in touch with your CEO and maybe I’ll write the story.

** Threats get you nowhere (legally).

3. I would prefer it if you were not present during the interview.

** There’s nothing wrong with PR being in the room (or on phone) during a call.

4. Thanks for being such a great flack.

** It’s the last word that irks. The first six are good.

The majority of journalists and PR pros understand the rules and don’t break them.  It’s the Rule Breakers we need to worry about for the good of both professions. So, what  No-No’s would you add to these lists?


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