It's that time of year again. Pundits prognosticate and pontificate. Experts (both real and self-appointed) gaze into crystal balls and come up with "Ten Trends for 2016" or whatever, then blast their wisdom all over the intertubes.
It's been forty years since the release of the feature film Network (written by Paddy Chayefsky and directed by Sidney Lumet), but if you're familiar with this razor-edged satire on electronic media, please conjure the image of actor Peter Finch as "Howard Beale – the mad prophet of the airwaves" raising his arms over his head while howling: "I'm as mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore!" Because you say: just let me sit here and read top-ten lists and leave me alone ... well, I'm not going to leave you alone! I want to stand up, go to your window and yell...
Hey! PR people!
As a working journalist I receive hundreds of press notices daily. And often, they (or the PR people who send them) bug me.
Oh, I understand that it's their job. But like any job, it can be done well – or it can be done badly. Getting a haircut, serving a burger, configuring a newly purchased mobile device...customer experiences vary. There's even Customer Experience Management, but that's another blog.
Here's part of the list.
English, do you speak it?
There's a flotilla of PR drones that fire press releases at me...in Chinese (usually Simplified). This is the same technique used by spammers worldwide: throw enough mud at the wall and some of it might stick.
Of course it all goes into the spam-compost. Those who actually follow Telecom Asia know it's an English-language publication.
If there's any doubt about what language we use, please check our website. 谢谢您
Brrring brring! "Hello, I'm calling from _______." says the voice on the line. Followed by a deliberate pause.
What am I supposed to do? Is this a geography test? Here's the response:
"Yes, what do you want?"
PR rep starts pitch...
"Can you please email it?"
"Do you have my email address?"
Invariably they do, so...why not email first? The usefulness of the information is important, its country of origin is not. We cover Asia-Pacific telecom (and, with Future TV Asia, APAC-related TV).
If there's any doubt about what we cover, please check our website.
Our SVP is in town...
Oh, we get it. Some higher-up exec is visiting Hong Kong and you think we should drop everything we're doing to go interview him.
See above: check the website. Every journalist has had the experience of interviewing someone and having them parrot the company line and/or hype their products. But many execs do have interesting observations, and if we had time to navigate Hong Kong's traffic and interview select individuals, we'd do it.
But we have a finite staff, and are charged with time-dependent tasks on an ongoing basis. Our duties seldom permit us to interview people based on an unsolicited invitation.
Still, do email us. Those who deal with us regularly (and read our output) understand our everyday tasks and schedules. Unsurprisingly, their emails tend to be better targeted.
However, as with everything, there's a way to do things right. Amid the flurries of seasonal greetings was a heartfelt email from a PR rep who knows how to do things right. She simply titled it: "This is not a press release."
To all our readers: all the best in 2016!