RSS

This is a list of corporate, marketing and PR buzzwords and tactics that drive reporters crazy. I've been in the news business for nearly a decade and a half, so I've dealt with my fair share. If I sound bitter, it's because I am.

Archive

Sep
4th
Tue
permalink

The Off-The-Record Backtrack

If an executive is sitting down for an off-the-record discussion about a company or specific subject, don’t trot him across town to the next publication and have him spout the exact same corporate rhetoric on the record. That’s a quick way to burn some bridges.

Aug
31st
Fri
permalink

The Multiple Reply Ploy

From a friend in PR (yes, I have those): If you don’t respond to an email pitch, the PR person will reply all multiple times so it looks like there’s a back-and-forth dialogue going on. The subject header will start with Re:, so it looks like the reporter responded. Of course, if you use Google’s Gmail for work, it doesn’t matter since the emails are grouped into conversations, and the PR person just looks silly and desperate. 

Aug
30th
Thu
permalink

"Throwing the baby out with the bathwater"

Wall Street folk love this expression, used to describe an overreaction (read: massive sell-off) to negative news. They couldn’t figure out a less gruesome cliche to use?

Jul
19th
Thu
permalink
Adult Entertainment Penetrates Social Media
— Subject line from a flak pitching an “adult industry expert” available for commentary. This falls under the so bad, it’s good category.
Jul
10th
Tue
permalink

"Pivot"

That’s Silicon Valley’s recent term of choice for a quick shift in strategy. I guess it sounds cooler than “we messed up.”

permalink
Jun
6th
Wed
permalink
May
21st
Mon
permalink

The Exclusive-Embargo Fake-out

Offering news to several publications on embargo, but giving one publication a much earlier “exclusive” isn’t the best way to ingratiate yourself with all of the other reporters. Even worse? Expressing the hope that all of the other publications stick to the original embargo time, despite the fact that the story is out. 

Tip: When a story is out, embargoes mean squat. This is yet another reason why I hate embargoes. 

These kinds of exclusives happen all the time. I’ve both enjoyed them and been the one left out in the cold, and it’s the part of what reporters deal with. But insisting that publications hold their stories despite the exclusive already being out is the kind of amateur hour act that gets PR firms banned in newsrooms. Yes, we talk. 

May
7th
Mon
permalink

The Really Last-Minute Pitch

Pitching a meeting to a reporter at a conference that starts that very day is not a good idea. Tip of the hat to PC Mag’s Sascha Segan.

May
2nd
Wed
permalink

The Constant Confirmation

Yes, a confirmation email a little before a meeting is acceptable, and actually appreciated. But a stream of confirmation emails — one or two a day for several days — is not. You just come off sounding desperate.