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 →
I lost my job the day my son, Joe, was born, so my work-life balance as a freelance journalist has been tied to my children growing up. I’ve given them breakfasts, packed them lunches and cooked them dinners. I’ve got them to school and gone on trips. Continue reading →
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.
Yesterday 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 →
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:
Public 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.
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.
An email to my MP asking whether I should complain about the Communities PR team to the minister or head of the Civil Service elicited a response, at last.
I called Matthew Gorman there on 15 December. I asked for the amount of council tax collected and the cost of collecting it, plus the amount of council tax benefit paid and the cost of paying it. I was given this information ten years earlier by the predecessor department for an article in the Guardian.