David vs. Goliath here. In my work as a publicist and PR strategist I do tell businesses it’s good to know about journalists and what kind of stories they write and keep track of things that particularly resonate with them etc. Right now there’s a fairly large debate and one might say “debaucle” going on because a very large PR firm accidentally sent their “backgrounder” on a journalist to the journalist himself.
Here’s the link to the full story.
My take: It’s a slippery slope when you start overidentifying or overcharactizing journalists that cover you and in essence take out all the room for candor, authenticity and maybe a great quote or two. If you spend all your time scripting responses to questions the journalist might ask then it’s pretty hard for them to write a decent story about your or your product.
How do you get someone to say that “luggage is sexy” as Jon Nordmark of ebags.com said to me in an interview many years ago? If he’d had a PR flack scripting everything, that would have never happened, nor would it have happened if they’d done a good backgrounder on me, because at the time I was interviewing Jon – I was just a stay-at-home Mom/part-time journalist, lucky enough to be getting a check to interview movers and shakers in the startup arena. That interview by the way was read thousands of times.
This also goes back to the whole movement toward real conversation. We’re all adults here – can’t we just all really say what we mean and do what we say without someone doing backgrounders on the best way to say it and place it and sell it?
The latter is not good PR, in my opinion.