Distance PR Learning

As a credentialed blogger intending to cover last month’s Always On Conference in New York City (before client work took me out of town), I noticed that my e-mailbox rapidly filled with all sorts of inducements to meet with this or that tech entrepreneur.

Few indicated any modicum of familiarity with the editorial essence of this space. Nonetheless, I empathetically responded to all. (I know. I’m an idiot.)

One particular pitch really got my Danderson up. It arrived via two emails containing separate unsolicited news releases over successive days. The first concerned the pairing of two no-name digital advertising entities, while the second trumpeted the appointments of a new CFO and COO at one of the firms.

Big whoop! It was so off The Flack’s mark that I didn’t dignify the email with my usual civil, but unrequited response.

Then that fateful call arrived. The boss from the offending PR firm in LaLa land tasked some really junior young woman “to follow up” on the release to which his name was attached. When it was clear that the caller hadn’t a clue whom she was calling, what my blog covered, the name of the blog, the essence of her own news release or what she expected me to do with it, I was very tempted to call her boss and give him a piece of my PR mind. I refrained.

All I could think was that journalist outreach continues to be pushed to the junior ranks, and that misguided smiling and dialing is alive and well. God help us all.

I was thus encouraged to see The Council of PR Firms and PRSA’s Counselors Academy, two organizations that I hold in high esteem, this week unveil an updated web-based attempt to address the issue of the lack of mentoring in the junior ranks at way too many PR firms.

PR Quick Start is a great resource for those promising candidates who are looking to transition into public relations from other professions, as well as help the new talent acclimate quickly,” said Kathy Cripps, president of the Council of Public Relations Firms. “Individuals who use PR QuickStart before applying for a job at a public relations firm will be more informed about the skills and competencies required there.”

On the flip side of the misguided query problem, I wonder why the news announcing the online learning venture never found its way into my e-mailbox. I stumbled on it quite by accident.