I put out a call on my personal Facebook page asking my friends who still work in TV news to tell me what PR people do to annoy them. Here are the rest of their responses.
“Don’t start a press conference 10 minutes late because one of the stations isn’t there yet. If they’re late, that’s on them. Don’t punish the people who are on time.”
“Don’t guide us to your most sterile conference room with walls of white board. I know offices are messy, but they’re visually interesting. The ‘mess’ actually shows you are working and gives me interesting cutaways.”
“When they send an email to you and to every station email address they have. I often get numerous copies of the same email since I’m on multiple lists. If there are five emails from one agency, all with the same subject, I typically don’t give it a good read.”
“Bad photos embedded in words docs. No website info. Not being available in the days following a release.”
“From the morning news groups, give me at least a couple of bullet points about why (the public) should care about this enough to write a :25 story about it. I second the notion of attaching some pics or video to that email…need visuals! And don’t put it in some crazy format that takes the entire IT department to figure out.”
“Sending embargoed material is rarely welcome. Also, letting another media outlet, most often a morning paper ‘preview’ the event to the extent that there is nothing new at the event beyond what has already been printed.”
“I find it really frustrating when I’m covering an event, especially as an MMJ (multi-media journalist), and the PR person gives you five different people to interview when you only need sound from one or two. Also, when they ask the best time to set up an interview and you tell them you have a 5pm newscast so the earlier the better. Then, they ask if 3:45pm will work.”
“When trying to personalize a news release, get my name AND station call letters right. Chances are if I see you’ve got one of those two things incorrect, I don’t read the full release. I also agree that you should send bullet points about why the public should care.”
“When they try to micromanage what I shoot. Oh! Get a shot of this! Oh! Get a shot of that! When I’m shooting a perfectly nice moment in front of them. Trying to guilt trip me into shooting something, especially a person you posed to mug for the camera, right in front of my camera, blocking the actual cute shot I was trying to get. And then taking a pic on your phone, saying, ‘Well, if they won’t take your picture, I will!’ That sort of thing only make me leaves faster.”
There you go… Out of the mouths of (news) babes.