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Julian Bray provides: Opinion, comment, forward thinking speculation on Travel, Cruise & Aviation: conflict zones, terrorist impact, drone (UAV) issues, safety (black boxes, emergencies), airline operations, aviation finance, political implications, and all forms of incident risk. Worked at board level with several airline and aviation groups, including Alitalia, British Island Airways, British Airways, Galileo , British Aerospace, Skyways, former CEO City firm Leadenhall Assoc. Founder CNS City News Service. Director NTN Television News (joint co. with ITV Wales TWW) Debretts People 2017 and in launch edition of PRWeek Black Book.

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Saturday, 3 April 2010

Hacks taking a pop at PR's is it justified ?



From time to time hacks have a go at PR's, what follows is a TRUE story. Enjoy!

 As a PR - and I have been on both sides of the fence - several times in fact - the rant is nothing new and stereotypical of the professional relationship whcioh is supposed to exist between the two camps. However consider this and it is a true story set arouund 1990 ie the desktop; computer had just recently come in and most communication at that time was by fax. on a roll of themographic paper.THE STORY:
I once asked a temp working in the office to send over to the Business Editor of the Birmingham Evening Mail by fax, a statement just cleared by the lawyers over a delicate industrial negotiation and agreement reached with the Unions and the management of a metal castings firm which hopefully would get both sides back to work. The foundry workers had been on strike for six weeks since itr had been sold to new investors and the workers were worried about their future. In typical fashion they were camped outside the gates with the obligatory braziers well alight and a mini tented village established. To add to the mix the workforce were of 99% asian extraction.


I handed over the file, to the temp secretary then promptly went for a long lunch (with client) as was the custom in those days (downstairs at El Vino's in Fleet Street).


I returned at 3:45pm having left the office at Noon. I turned to the tempo and asked here is she had sent the fax. "I finished it about two minutes ago" she replied.

She had in fact sent the statement as soon as I had left for lunch but she then continued to send the entire contents of the client file , all my confidential notes, agreements the lot.....all 368 pages.............


I telephoned the newspaper: "We seem to have a fax which stretched three times around the newsroom." was the laconic reply. The 'hack' concerned obviously read through the entire fax but true to his word used the original statement and he knew that in my dealings with him ove the weeks I had been truthful.. Some hacks are intelligent enough to realise that PR contacts save a lot of legwork and effectively add a couple of bodies in terms of output to the salaried staff. Without the input of PR materials many local papers would have gone out of business years ago.


So rather that venting your spleen at the PR's who on the basis of a 900 strong mailing list isn't going to be too bothered about say 10% of the list having a flea up their backside about the press release and also knowing that many print publications will reproduce the release just topping and tailing the submission and that with a whole range of live radio intrerviews to be done back to back from the PR's office over the broadcast quality ISDN line and voice codec recently installed thats another 20 - 30 hits and finally the "b" roll broadcast quality video will be on the circit from the BT tower later in the day. I forgot to metion the blogposts, You Tube Virals and if any time is left a few follow up phone calls to the Blunt as in Scunthorpe. I'll, put you through....


9 October 2009 12:03


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