Journalism is harder work for less money

Journalism has got harder. Journalists have to contact more people, more often, using email, phone and sometimes social media, such as Twitter or LinkedIn, just to get an answer. And this is all for the same money, or often less.

More PRs are barriers to information rather than enablers. It takes longer and more effort to get fewer, less interesting answers. And then you get hassled for writing the truth. Continue reading

FCA PR queries

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FCA press office contacts

I don’t believe the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) press office answered my questions at all. Do you? My email correspondence is in this blog.

The FCA is the super-regulator for the financial services industry. It took a public pounding from MPs and a published report last year over briefing a journalist too much information too early. Perhaps it is being over-cautious now.

There’s a less email-heavy version of this on my business website Wheal Associates (new window), which includes more on the FCA’s problems last year.  This post contains the detail of my correspondence. Continue reading

Treasury audio

George Osbrone giving budget speechYesterday I recorded Treasury press officer, Andrea Geoghegan, refusing to give me information she had to hand revealing exactly how much worse off the Treasury thinks the Budget will make families. I published it on Audioboo and wrote about it on Daily Finance. It has caused a stink.

Does the press officer deserve it? Should I have named her? Did I give her a fair chance? I’ll tell you how I behaved writing my “Treasury tries to kill Budget cost story” then you decide. Continue reading

PRs need help

PR people need help. They appear to have less understanding of how journalists work than ever before. They don’t appreciate deadlines, the speed journalists work at and the hours journalists now work on 24-hour internet media.

I have had a couple of weeks of dire experience with PRs. These include:

Slow, non-answers | Embargos | Contacts | Press registration Continue reading

Embargo farrago

Axa websitePublic relations (PR) officers from insurer AXA gave the trade press and the national press different embargoes for the same story on Friday.

Embargoed is a small town in Wales, my old ex-national newspaper editor used to say, emphasising the “ed” sound at the end of the word. It looks like AXA’s PR people give the embargo about as much respect.

Continue reading


The BBC carried a story on a tax hoax phishing email this morning, timed at 01.49. I phoned the out of hours HMRC PR at 9am and he did not have the press release, said he would get it to me about 11am and, so far, still hasn’t.

Why are PRs so completely useless?

Update: After second chase up call, when release was still not ready, it arrived by email at 12.34, saying exactly the same as the BBC was given 11 hours earlier.

Related stories

Links (new windows)

Sunday PR roast

Accountants Ernst & Young issued a press release today (Sunday) but the named PR, Vicky Conybeer, did not have access to a photo of those quoted in the release because she was not in the office.

Why bother releasing it on Sunday or being the named PR if you can’t help working hacks? Continue reading

Council tax post

I finally got the figures I needed – though I had to find some via a link on Local Government Chronicle’s website to the Communities department’s site (new window) that the PR had not found.

Interesting that the chief PR seems to think the response “but will be Monday before I can come back to you” would be OK for a website that runs seven days a week.

When he gets back in on Monday he’ll find several more emails from me and that I have found the missing figure on his own website.

Related post

Poor Govt. Pr

Links (new windows)

Taking the rise out of council tax (Daily Finance)