I used to work in the newspaper industry, and I’ll admit that some of the criticism that journalists are arrogant and holier-than-thou is justified.
Take, for example, the smart-aleck news brief that appeard on Page 3 of the July 6 issue of the Denver Business Journal. The headline read “Another episode: Bad Press Release Theater.”
“Don’t imply that the media outlet to whom you’re pitching will soon be out of business, as in this recent pitch to DBJ editor Neil Westergaard,” the item stated.
The writer, presumably Westergaard, was critical of an unnamed PR person’s pitch that began like this:
“Four years ago, executive director [Jane Doe] anticipated the eventual decline of print media and launched her own new media startup, which serves the travel, tourism and destination marketing industries through new media and video productions…”
DBJ Editor Neil Westergaard replied:
“I’m not interested in doing a story on [Company X]. I’m too busy putting the DBJ’s affairs in order owing to our eventual decline as a print medium, as predicted by [Jane Doe].
The publicist wrote back, “Thanks, anyway, Neil. Hope you gave a great day!”
“You have to admire such cheerful obliviousness,” the brief stated.
OK, maybe it wasn’t the greatest pitch in the world. But it wasn’t inaccurate. The editor’s response makes him look, indeed, oblivious.
The newspaper industry, particularly dailies, is seeing continued declines in circulation and advertising, with many major dailies gutting their news staffs. Craigslist, the wildly popular free online community bulletin board, is largely responsible for the papers’ eroded classified ad revenue.
The Cincinnati Post and The Kentucky Post, both afternoon dailies, will stop publishing December 31, the newspaper’s owners announced last week. The problem probably isn’t as severe at business journals, but the American City Business Journals chain and Crains have been devoting a lot of time and attention to the online verions of their publications.
Problems in the newspaper industry are all the more reason why PR people should be reaching out to bloggers and citizen journalists and using social networking sites, as well as posting to Craigslist. See “Let Bloggers Create Publicity for You” and “Craigslist: A Valuable Publicity Tool.”
Thanks to Publicity Hound Anita Larson of The Web Muse & Company, a Colorado web design firm, who sent the clipping to me. She says she, too, thinks the brief smacks of smart-aleck.