PR Travels

 How often have you been on the receiving end of this call?

Client: Did you see the story in The Journal today?
You: No. What story?
Client: The one featuring our main competitor!
You: Homina, homina, homina…
Client: Can you call the reporter and convince him to include us?
You: Welllll…the piece is already published and it’s very unlikely The Journal will do a follow-up story on the same subject.
Fuming Client: Do it anyway!

PR people are not omniscient. We simply cannot know all that’s in the media pipeline at any given time. (We can, however, have our finger on the pulse of trends and what could make a viable story.) Even so, many media outlets have strict rules forbidding employees from divulging what’s in the works editorially, especially stories that may be material to a company. (Remember R. Foster Winans?)

: “But we heard that ’60 Minutes’ is investigating our industry. Why can’t you call them to find out?”
You: “Because the person who confirms this will be fired, that’s why!”

Joe Sharkey, who writes a travel column for the “Business” pages of The New York Times, today provided the exception to the revisitation rule. After reporting last month on some great online travel blogs, he apparently received so many other worthy recommendations (from citizen journalists, BTW) that today he wrote a follow-up column to give those he originally omitted their place in the sun. In our business, never say never.

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