. The Transom .

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Don't bite the hand that feeds you. This means you, Chris Anderson

I know there is a secret love hate relationship between PR people and the media. We rely on the media to act as the delivery mechanism for our information, and they in turn rely on us for story ideas and in most cases, content. (a WSJ study done several years ago found that over 65% of all content in newspapers was influenced by PR efforts) We love to get upset with them when they don't go for our pitches, and they love to call us hacks and idiots for not 'understanding them better.'

So I understand the unwritten rule that we both think the other is less than perfect, but it's a dirty secret that we keep quiet. Until now. Chris Anderson, editor at Wired magazine, called out 300 PR people for sending him information that he didn't want. Granted, they should have done their research and sent the information to the right person at the magazine, but he called them out for it publicly and posted their email addresses and put them on a black list. Is public embarrassment the way to solve his little "I get too much email" problem. Calling these people out publicly was crossing the line and extremely unprofessional. He could have easily just blocked their email addresses and be done with it. But he went public.

The equivalent fight from our side, of course, would be to print a list of every dumbass journalist that got the facts wrong, called the company or product by the wrong name, or just flat out can't write to save their life. And believe me, there are tons of them. As the WSJ study indicates, they rely on us for two-thirds of their content. Think of it as McDonald's coming out and saying that hamburger meat should be banned. Not exactly a smart thing to do. Chris doesn't have to worry about me sending him any 'email spam' for content ideas. And from what I've read so far in reaction to his antics, most of my colleagues won't be either. Good luck with your fish wrapper, Chris.

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