Olly Wehring

I don't actually like journalists...

By: Olly Wehring - 1 February 2007 15:58

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It has to be the most frustrating part of a journalist’s job - coming up against a company press spokesperson who clearly neither likes journalists, nor much enjoys speaking to them.

I actually once had a corporate communications executive at one multinational tell me she didn’t even like journalists, which is always encouraging when someone in that position is meant to be the conduit of information between press and company.

In fact, it has definitely got worse over the last four years since I became a journalist. Now, I am not expecting anyone to divulge company secrets over the ‘phone, but people now seem scared to say anything, even when the questions are of a positive nature. And that fear seems to have led to a resentment that we journalists are calling for a comment in the first place.

I usually let these things slide. However, I am in an obtuse mood today, so let me share with you a conversation I had this week with the PR bod at one large company that illustrates this little rant rather well.

just-drinks: “Could you give me some more detail on why the company sees this acquisition as strong complement to its portfolio?”
PR guru: “I wouldn’t like to add to what our president has said.”

Silence

j-d: “What’s your view on why such products are growing in popularity?”
PR guru: “Just that it’s a growing category.”

Silence

A few more questions went the same way before our conversation ended.

I’m so glad to see the subtle arts of communication are still alive and well.

Here endeth the lesson.

Comments on this blog post

Maybe an ideal PR practioner needs to be "Hard in the Head" and "Soft in the heart" but it could be the opposite in many cases.

 

Parikshit Dhingra, India

There doesn't need to be so much animosity. If anyone should understand that, it's the PR practitioner. I would not want such a person representing my brand.

 

ADB, United States

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