Journalists on PR: A newspaper reporter sets ground rules

April 9, 2009

Good PR pros spend a lot of time trying to think like journalists in order to serve them better, and to better secure coverage for their clients.

nbc_the_more_you_know1It’s always refreshing, then, when a journalist takes the time to address the PR community directly and professionally with his or her needs in an informative fashion.

Richard Bammer, a staff writer with Vacaville, Calif.’s The Reporter, did just that yesterday. It’s rather basic stuff but it’s always good to take a refresher course. And, as a PR person, I greatly appreciate the gesture.

Posted by Joe Paone

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Journalists on PR: Grant Clauser

January 4, 2009

Grant Clauser

Grant Clauser

Grant Clauser is editorial director of North American Publishing Company‘s Consumer Technology Publishing Group, which means he’s the editorial leader of E-Gear (of which he is also editor-in-chief), Dealerscope, CustomRetailer, PictureBusiness, HTSA Quarterly, Home Furnishings Business, HD Living and the Official CES Show Guide (whew, that list is finally over!). All told, an obvious slacker if there ever was one.

Grant’s been covering the CE business for 10 years. Before that, he edited several publications in the allied health market and wrote about fly fishing for various outdoor sports publications. His favorite movies are Excalibur and The Polar Express; his favorite beers are Guinness, Pocono Pale Ale and Yuengling Black & Tan. He wears a size 10.5 shoe. His favorite fly is the Parachute Adams. He sucks at Rock Band (Don’t we all, though? Even the ones who are good at it?). He tried for many CESes to convince me to join him for dinner at Star Trek: The Experience, and was never successful in doing so, although I greatly admired his genuine enthusiasm about the place. As far as I know, he occasionally sleeps.

Given all that is on Grant’s gigantic plate, we’re honored he took some time out to talk to us about PR. Heck, he’s even participated in a CEA webcast on the subject, so he kinda beat me to the punch. And just in case you missed it last week, he also sent me a quite illuminating survey of 20 anonymous CE tech journalists and their attitudes about PR, which makes for quite tasty reading.

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Journalists on PR: Tips for Working with the CE Press

December 30, 2008

My friend and former colleague Grant Clauser, editorial director of North American Publishing Company‘s Consumer Technology Publishing Group (E-Gear, Dealerscope, CustomRetailer, PictureBusiness and more), sent me the following in advance of our upcoming Journalists on PR interview, which we’ll post in January.

Says Grant, “Earlier this year, I was helping a friend who teaches a class in PR by doing a survey of other editors on how PR can better work with them… [T]he answers come from about 20 people and sometimes contradict each other.”

While the respondents all hail from the CE (consumer electronics) press, the results are great reading for any PR professional, as most if not all of what the respondents have to say is largely universal. As you read through, sometimes the contradictions that emerge will make your head spin… but keep in mind that these raw, unfiltered statements provide invaluable insight into how journalists think, and about what they want and don’t want from PR people. (And, of course, like snowflakes, no two journalists are exactly alike.)

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Journalists on PR: Jeremy Glowacki

December 15, 2008

Today marks the inaugural edition of a new CasterBlog feature called Journalists on PR. Caster’s Joe Paone will interview various journalists to gauge their feelings on the state of the public relations industry, as well as glean useful and constructive information that PR professionals can use to build more mutually fruitful relationships with journalists and, by extension, better represent and serve their clients. A trade journalist for 16 years before he arrived at Caster in 2007, Joe has a unique perspective on the eternal tensions between the two fields.

Jeremy Glowacki

Jeremy Glowacki

We’re honored to interview Jeremy Glowacki for our first installment of Journalists on PR. Jeremy is a veteran magazine editor, having worked for numerous publications over his 15-year career. In January 2000, he helped create and launch Residential Systems, a business and technology magazine for the custom audio/video installation industry. He remains day-to-day editor of that title and editorial director of Systems Contractor News, Rental & Staging, and Residential Systems International and their websites, which are all owned by New York City-based NewBay Media LLC. He holds a bachelor of arts degree in journalism from the University of Georgia and currently resides in Carmel, Indiana, with his wife Karen, two young daughters and beagle/bassett mix.

And awaaaaayyyy we go, after the jump…

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PR for bloggers

April 29, 2008

It is cliche in the blogging world to write about blogging.  Meta-blogging, as it’s called, delves into the intricacies and anomalies of this ever growing medium of the weblog.  It seems everyone these days can’t wait to write down their innermost thoughts, hit publish and share their lives with an community of virtual strangers.

I started blogging as a way to put words on a page every day; an exercise in creative writing that I otherwise lack in my day-to-day life.  I have a small group of faithful readers who visit daily to comment on the inane ramblings and world views of a neurotic 20-something wanna-be writer.  I started out just wanting to vent and ended up entering a whole world that I never knew existed.  When my blog began getting linked to some more popular sites, the PR pitches began. 

The first pitch I received was to test out an online e-card service and complete a write-up on my site.  Mildly shocked that someone in public relations thought I was a worthy enough medium for their product to be reviewed, I took a look at the site.  It was a bit of a disaster and knowing there was no way in good faith I could recommend it to anyone, I politely declined.  By the time I joined the PR world, I had been pitched about a dozen times to review or discuss product on my blog.  I declined eleven out of the twelve offers.  Some of them were so far-fetched and beyond anything I had ever discussed on my blog, I couldn’t imagine why someone had wasted their time even pitching me.  That’s when I began to learn about the ongoing struggle the public relations field was having with the blogging world. 

Blogs have become our news sources and information guides and as such, they have a certain power to convey messages.  Waist-deep in the age of the internet,  bloggers can be incredibly influential and many are treated like journalists.  Tech blogs such as Engadget and Gizmodo hold about as much rank in the consumer electronics industry as any mainstream tech magazine.  But as much as we  like to compare them with journalists, the forum of blogging does not lend itself to the same pitches or story ideas that mainstream media outlets do.  Therein lies the struggle.

Case in point.

PR professional A decides to pitch blogs 1, 2 and 3 on a cool new tech product coming out in a few weeks.  Instead of reading through blogs 1, 2 and 3’s archives, PR pro A decides to just go ahead and write a generic pitch with press release attached to send to the bloggers.

PR professional B decides to pitch blogs 4, 5, and 6 on yet another cool tech product coming out but he takes the time to truly learn what the blogs write about, what they consider to be blog worthy, and what types of things they don’t typically cover.  When PR pro B writes his pitch, he mentions other products like his new product that the bloggers have written about before and makes an effort to show them why his product would make a good fit for a post on their sites. 

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out which PR professional is more likely to get coverage for their client’s product.

Like all journalists, bloggers need to receive pitches applicable to the genre and content of their site.  But unlike all media oulets, blogs represent the new form of 24/7 news and information, with high content turnover and a necessary wow-factor to each post to give them the edge.  The plethora of weblogs on the internet make it important for each site to distinguish itself and its content to first gain a community and then to retain those readers.

The only pitch I ever responded to positively on my personal blog was one from an author wondering if she could send me a complimentary copy of her newest book and have me review it on my blog.  Being an avid reader and occasionally discussing books, movies and music on my site made this offer a perfect pitch for me.  Everything else – the astrology website, the garden tools, the high-chair company who wanted to send me the latest state of art high-chair for my baby?  (My very nonexistent baby?) 

Completely missed the mark. 

Posted by: Ashley