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Friday, November 18, 2005

Yahoo! I'm a journo!

I thoroughly enjoyed Jeremy 'Yahoo!' Zawodny's post on bloggers blacklisting PR companies. Well, I say enjoyed. More like fundamentally disagreed with and was generally horrified by.

I'm sorry, bloggers, but you're sitting at the big boys' table now. If you're in the fortunate position of having built up a large reader base through your hard work and sweat, all credit to you. You have an audience - this is a powerful thing. But with great power comes great responsibility.

Whether you like it or not, at the point your blog gets popular you need to embrace basic journalistic ethics. You must tell the truth. You must remain impartial. You must continue to promote the needs of public interest.

Hand in hand with your new role as thought-leader comes fundamental media processes. PR people will contact you to try and engage your interest in companies that pay them to engage your interest in them. This is how the world works. Journalists are trained to deal with this. A good journalist remains courteous and open to new ideas at all times.

A news release sent, albeit unsolicited, from a PR company to you is not 'spam', it's an example of said PR company *doing its job*. No more, no less. It is not an excuse for you to flame the company, start making blacklists or generally acting unprofessionally.

After all, if the PR types started giving you free stuff, like lunches or phones or huge wads of cash, I'm sure you'd change your tune and start listening. Which illustrates, above all, why blogging - and particularly corporate blogging - is so dangerous in its erosion of mass media values.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Darren said...

As I commented on Jeremy's post, I agree that if bloggers want to act with journalists, they get to take the bad with the good.

However, you're wrong when you say that a PR company sending a media release is "an example of said PR company *doing its job*". As I'm sure you read, somebody representing AOL sent a release regarding the "AOL Hi-Q" high quality video format to the folks at the Yahoo Search blog. That's plain stupid, and is an example of a PR company specifically not doing their job.

I got a media release the other day for contact lenses. I don't think I've ever written about contact lenses, or eye-care generally.

Smart PR practicioners understand that:

* PR is about relationships.
* Relationships aren't built by bulk mailing inappropriate people (journalists, bloggers, analysts, you name it).

An untargeted media release is unsolicited, inapporpriate email. As far as I'm concerned, that's a decent enough definition of spam.

12:28 am  

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