Catching up

June 25, 2007

Much like Sally over at Getting ink, The Spud has just completed a relocation to a “more desirable” field, so I’m a little behind the goings-on. I did, however, catch up with Sally’s interesting set of suggestions on how to get a hack to make/take a phone call.

The post seems to have been inspired by a flack having gone over a hack’s head to complain at the singular lack of cooperation shown by the unnamed hack in the phone interview stakes. I agree completely that going over anyone’s head to complain to their boss is unforgivable, although if, as I suspect the flack involved had exhausted all other possibilities, what option would he have been left with? Said flack is, presumably trying to provide a valuable contributor to said hack’s article (otherwise hack would have made it clear that it wasn’t his bag) so why the lack of cooperation from hack?

If Sally’s thoughts on the nature of grudges and, more specifically journalistic ones is anything to go by then the answer is somewhere not far removed from childishness. Are there hacks in the UK who believe that certain flacks have personal vendettas against them? Do hacks really believe that the endless stream of irrelevant releases are sent solely to them? I didn’t think so, so why the over zealous reaction?

“The unfortunate thing about being so darned helpful is that you’ve instantly and permanently killed your working relationship with the hack. He’s going to remember your name long after he’s forgotten the name of your client, your agency, or the chap at the council. Next time he has two equally good pitches? He’s gonna take the one that’s not from you. Every time.
It’s a harsh truth that hacks bear grudges.”

Shame, all that. One day we’ll perhaps wake up and notice that we’re all in this to get stuff published, one way or another. I just hope I don’t ever get the wrong side of one of Sally’s grudges.

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2 Responses to “Catching up”

  1. Sally Says:

    All due respect to your otherwise lovely blog, but this is utter nonsense.

    The hack in question didn’t sever ties because the flack had ‘exhausted all other possibilities’. He decided she could (in his words) f*ck off and die because she hadn’t exhausted ANY possibilities – when he missed the second call, she simply emailed his editor with a ridiculously bitchy complaint disguised as a helpful offer.

    What annoyed me about the story was that the PR could easily have done lots of other things that would have salvaged both the coverage AND the relationship with the hack – like calling the journalist and offering an interview with the client, or providing information by email. There’s usually some way to sort these things out, surely?

    In this case, the flack NEVER contacted the journalist who missed the interview. It’s a bit like a flack sending the wrong conference call number and me immediately calling the PR agency’s MD to complain.

    It’s just not necessary – at least not until I’ve called the flack direct to see if there’s a solution.

    Like you say, we are all ultimately supposed to be working together towards (almost) the same end – so why would the hack in this tale want to work with someone who’s clearly prepared to screw him over?

  2. Spudgun Says:

    Sally – with all due, that’s not exactly what your original post said…
    Being the natural optimist that I am, I simply assumed that the flack in question would have exhausted all possibilities – if that’s not the case then I agree the flack is indeed an arse. I apologise.

    I do think though, that in the interests of fair play you might have included this bit in the original post – I appreciate that your audience is likely to draw those conclusions as there’s a flack involved, but for everyone else, who might not have the same broad brush preconceptions it would be very useful…


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