A timely story about that distribution channel so often misused by the PR industry â€“ email.
In an article published in Journalism.co.uk (and elsewhere), Iain Fleming, who works for Newslink, a news aggregation and delivery service in the UK, writes about the results of a survey he carried a few months ago on peopleâ€™s attitudes to the email that PR agencies and others send them.
Probably little surprise at some of Flemingâ€™s findings:
[â€¦] the results of my small survey â€“ including responses from 101 editors, section editors, journalists and IT managers â€“ showed just how much those working on news desks disliked the PR industry â€“ despite their growing reliance on it. So much of what is being thrown at them is completely irrelevant â€“ if it gets to them at all.
What does get through â€“ and 95 per cent reported problems with email of which around a quarter said it was â€˜every dayâ€™ â€“ is sent in ways which either crash their systems or canâ€™t be opened because their employers simply cannot afford to upgrade software on 200 computers as regularly as a small PR agency of just a few people can â€“ and does.
And that is just for â€˜traditionalâ€™ text and pictures. The message that a national newspaper can happily use a picture â€“ even across several columns â€“ if it is only a few hundred Kb in size has not got through to the PR people, who keep sending out 10Mb files at a time.
Move on to â€˜newâ€™ media and the situation is even worse, with the same issues of incompatible file types, too large files, poor quality content and stuff that is â€˜just not newsworthyâ€™ topping the list of complaints. A senior manager within ITV told me just last week how one station struggled for several hours to get video sent by a fire brigade into a format suitable for broadcast, but ran out of time and the bulletin went out minus the footage.
What a picture. Read the full story in its gory detail.
I like to look beyond the dismal picture Fleming paints. There are great opportunities for the few â€“ yes, there are some â€“ who get it right.
- For Immediate Release: Special Live Call-In Show on PR Spam â€“ June 11, 2008
- Who has responsibility for addressing PR spam?
- PR spam is mostly the result of being careless