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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

Aug
30th
Thu
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"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
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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
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"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.”

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Jun
6th
Wed
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May
21st
Mon
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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
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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
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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. 

Apr
11th
Wed
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The Late Embargo

Pitching an announcement, research report, or study is fine. Asking for an embargo that comes after the news is announced isn’t. Embargoes are bad enough, but if they’re set for after the news breaks, they’re intolerable. 

Apr
10th
Tue
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The Story Teller

To PR folks looking to send story ideas: no thanks. We’ll come up with our own stories, thank you very much. Adding “story idea” to the subject line of an email is a quick way to get it sent to the trash bin.