Friday, April 17, 2009
PR meets PR

I'm almost certainly breaking the law by posting this, but I saw a fascinating exchange this week between a PR person and a journalist that sums up a classic media misunderstanding so sweetly, that I had to share it.

To summarise: PR type Stephen Davies receives a press release and complains about it. National news journalist Guy Clapperton calls him on his complaint. Hilarity ensues.

Here is the Twitter exchange in its full glory. Warning: They wind each other up a bit.

(I have strong feelings about this, but will let you read this and share yours before I share mine. What do you reckon?)


Steve Davies: Dear Marketwire. Please don't send unsolicited press releases to my company's contact email. I didn't ask for it and it isn't relevant. Thx! 8.16am

Guy Clapperton: So you're an information junkie who doesn't want unsolicited information? Interesting... 8.24am

Steve Davies: Er, no. I'm an information junkie who doesn't want spam. There's a difference - thought you'd know. 8.26am

Guy Clapperton: I didn't know press releases from a bona fide company was spam, particularly when you're saying you're hungry for info, no. 8.38am

Steve Davies: That's not the point. What has my Twitter bio got to do with my company's contact email? Nowt. 8.43am

Steve Davies: So you're telling me, as a journo, you've never considered a press release sent to you as spam? 8.44am

Guy Clapperton: Absolutely. I would look a fool if I put my head over the parapet as a freelance journalist and then objected to press releases. 8.50am

Guy Clapperton: So you're expecting PRs to put a metric in place that divides you into two separate identities and it's their job to sort it out? 8.51am

Steve Davies: OK, 2 questions. 1. Why send a press release to a business (not blog) email? 2. Why not ask for permission before sending? 8.55am

Steve Davies: Yes I do expect people to put a metric in place. That's good PR! It was a wire service though ... not an PR person. 8.57am

Steve Davies: This is not journalism. Even if they did send 2 my blog address I'm no journo. Want my attention? Email me personally. 8.59am

Guy Clapperton: You pitched yourself as an information junkie, people are sending you information. You opened the box, Pandora, no point moaning. 9.02am

Steve Davies: Naah, you're completely missing the point. Where on my company site (where it was sent) does it say send me press releases? 9.21am

Guy Clapperton: You're missing a larger one - where on any site does it say it's anyone's job but yours to manage your online identities? 9.26am

Steve Davies: So you're saying it's OK to send bloggers (and other social media users) unsolicited email they don't necessarily want? 9.29am

Guy Clapperton: I'm saying by declaring yourself an 'information junkie' you've invited these items of information. Your description, in public 9.38am

Steve Davies: I just can't see how my Twitter bio somehow says 'send press releases that I didn't ask for to my company email address' 9.45am

Guy Clapperton: I'm saying by declaring yourself an 'information junkie' you've invited these items of information. Your description, in public 9.38am

Guy Clapperton: Just blogged "Bloggers and press releases « Social Networking Blog" ( ) 9.58am

Steve Davies: Where on my Twitter profile does it say 'send me information' or 'send me press releases'? It doesn't. 9.58am

Guy Clapperton: Oh for goodness' sake, you describe yourself as an information junkie so people send you information! Is it so difficult??? 10.02am

Steve Davies: That's a very strange way of looking at it, Guy. But thanks for your thoughts. 10.05am

Steve Davies: Don't know why you haven't included my name in your blog post. I stand by what I said 10.08am

Guy Clapperton: Didn't have your permission but wanted to give the issue an airing. Feel free to respond on the blog, of course. 10.09am

Steve Davies: They didn't send the release to my blog. It was sent to - not even a person address. 10.12am

Guy Clapperton: OK, manage your online ID or even talk to the sender! (CHECKS WEBSITE) You're in PR yourself? My mind is really boggling now. 10.16am

Steve Davies: Yes I am in PR and it's bad tactics like this that gives us other PRs a bad name among you journos. Boggling mind also. 10.22am

Guy Clapperton: If you don't want info, don't say you're an info junkie; if you don't want releases, don't put a publication or blog out there. 10.42am

Steve Davies: Don't agree with that notion at all. I haven't said I don't want releases. I said I don't want ones I didn't ask for. 10.44am