Public relations hacks (oops, I mean specialists) take some guff
A laugh at the expense of a PR person is standard, inside humor
in the newspaper biz. Indeed, it is not so "inside." PR people
offer some of the best laugh lines themselves.
That's how I happen to be looking at a raft of one-liners that
poke fun at the public relations business and at the relationship
between reporters and the PR personnel we lean on at times. (By
"lean on," I mean either lean on as in push to get some action or
as in rely on. It all depends.)
This collection was in one of those numerous e-mails that float
around the Internet. It is a list of "things a reporter would never
say to a PR person," and it apparently originated with a public
relations student at the University of Georgia.
One of the best is: "No, I don't have anything to do during
Comdex. I'd love to meet your product manager for a briefing."
Yes, we have encountered PR personnel who think we love to meet
their clients at conventions just because everyone is gathered at
the same place at the same time. Wrong. Physical proximity does not
I have even had PR types seek an appointment with a Travel
Weekly reporter during conventions on the other side of the world
when the clients are based a few miles from us in the U.S.
Here are some other lines a PR person won't hear:"I'd much rather work through a qualified PR professional like
yourself than talk to someone else at the company who might tell me
something I'm not supposed to know.""Take your time getting back to me.""Have you spoken to editors at other publications about this
story? This is news that they should cover, too."
In all seriousness, there are very professional PR
practitioners. And, maybe occasionally, there are good reasons to
hire one for your business. Certainly, it would be helpful to learn
some of the professional PR person's skills.
That is why I asked one of my favorite hacks (er, PR men) to
participate with me in a seminar, called Getting Good Press, at the
Minneapolis Star Tribune travel trade show on April 6. He is Steve
Loucks, who left his PR post at ASTA to join Carlson Leisure Group
as public relations director.
And this whole column, besides amusing me, is a roundabout way
of telling you Travel Weekly is a cosponsor of the Minneapolis
event. Participation in a local newspaper travel show is a first
for us; we have helped create the seminar program.
A promotional mailing is slated to go out this week to 4,000
agents in Minnesota and the four surrounding states. If you have
questions, there is a hot-line number, (612) 673-7234.