A letter to the PR pros


Dear communications person,

Why do I have to deal with you? You clog up my inbox with press releases I don’t care about, and then when I want to write a story, you are the gatekeeper that controls the information that I need. You won’t be quoted, but in order to speak with the person that can be quoted, I have to “be connected” through you, which often takes weeks, or even months. I can’t just call the person I want to talk to because they need your permission. You want to know what my story is before I write it. I can’t tell you that yet. I don’t know what my story is because I haven’t finished my reporting.

You listen in on conference calls. You “sit-in” on interviews. You won’t let me talk to the person I want to talk to because they are too busy, but you provide me with a statement or a quote, that was probably written by you.

You release information at inconvenient times, like 6 p.m. My story was due an hour ago, buddy. By the way, you seem to always be in a meeting. Everyone in your office seems to always be in a meeting or on lunch break. Or on vacation.

I hate it when you ask me what my deadline is. It’s when I finish writing it, of course. I feel like it’s a game. If I tell you too soon of a deadline, you say you can’t possibly get me the information by then. If I say I don’t have a deadline, you put me at the bottom of the pile and forget about me.

You withhold facts. You “spin”. You don’t answer your phone. You don’t answer your email. You tell me I need to talk to a different gatekeeper who will also do these things.

I know. I know. Not all of you are like this. Some of you are nice. It’s the others that give you a bad name.