(Photo Credit: Literacy Trust)
Two weeks later, Wired
editor and The Long Tail
author Chris Anderson's blog entry
is still making waves in the PR and media industries. Since Alis post below, Andersons entry has been featured in The New York Times
, CondeNast Portfolio
and many more. Andersons words and actions (pasting the email addresses of those PR pros who have pitched him irrelevant story ideas) have clearly struck a nerve with many. Hes been termed a hero by some
and a villain by others
(see the comments section of Andersons follow-up post). The entry has started a war of words among PR professionals, journalists and interested readers that is thought provoking at its best and cringe-inducing at its worst
For me, the biggest takeaway from all this is the importance of reading. It seems simple and probably obvious but its clear that at least some PR people are not reading enough. I may sound like an elementary school teacher stressing the lesson that Reading is Fundamental
but theres more than a little truth in that statement. We need to read to know a reporters beat and style, to learn about our clients and their competitors, to stay up to date on our own industry, and to become better writers. In the days of emails, IMs, texts and constant news updates, we need to take the time to read relevant articles and research reporters. We stress at SpeakerBox
that reading is still one of the best ways to learn about a new topic or find an interesting take on an old one. Each of us spends time everyday doing market reading for our clients and it's this thoughtful and deliberate approach to media relations that gets results for clients. Reading is still a great way to pick up a new writing style or find a new target for a clients news and the PR pros who dont read will soon find themselves on a list like Andersons.
(Photo Credit: Wired)
editor Chris Andersons blog entry
on his blog, The Long Tail
, titled Sorry PR People: Youre Blocked has raised a lot of eyebrows. Anderson echoes a message that all PR people have heard before - he gets more than 300 emails a day and is tired of receiving spam from lazy PR people - but its what follows in his post that got people talking. He goes on to say that turnabout is fair play and publishes a list of all the email addresses he has blocked in the past month. The fact that these addresses are posted will not only ruin some reputations or get people in big trouble at work, it will leave them to be harvested by spammers.
The comments portion of this blog is what I found most interesting. Some agree, some disagree; some think it was wrong to publish the addresses and others are giving Anderson major credit. Personally, I can see both sides here
We dont buy lists or send out mass emails here at SpeakerBox because thats simply not an effective and inspired way to reach the right audience. However, there are those rare times when a reporters beat changes or someone leaves a publication and something gets sent to the wrong person. To ban someone on the first offense seems over the top. On the other hand, receiving emails on a daily basis that have nothing to do with what you cover must get pretty frustrating. But most are saying that publishing the addresses to be harvested makes Anderson no better than the original spammers.
The thing here is that we (PR professionals) and journalists need to have a symbiotic relationship where we understand the other persons job and associated challenges. Not every person in PR is a lazy flack and not every journalist is self-righteous. As PR people that means we must take the time to research and target the correct journalist for the sake of our clients and our own reputation. For journalists, it means remembering the times PR pros have helped in a pinch or provided great story ideas and understanding that a few bad seeds are not indicative of an entire profession.
Whatever your take on Andersons blog entry, it is clear that his words have re-opened the dialogue on the relationship between reporters and PR professionals.