Hi-tech journalists hit out at aggressive PR tactics

LAS VEGAS: Zealous hi-tech PR professionals this week came under fire from hi-tech journalists for using unnecessarily aggressive tactics at the Comdex conference in Las Vegas.

LAS VEGAS: Zealous hi-tech PR professionals this week came under fire from hi-tech journalists for using unnecessarily aggressive tactics at the Comdex conference in Las Vegas.

Leading computing title Computerworld ran a number of articles this week attacking computer and software PR people, thousands of whom attended Comdex, one of the biggest events of the year for the hi-tech sector.

'No one wants to call them wolves,' wrote senior editor Kim Nash in a piece called The Gatekeepers. 'But when PR people come to the door, no one jumps to answer either.'

The article, along with another entitled Hype Masters, recounted nightmare stories from industry leaders subjected to over-zealous PR tactics. Esther Dyson, successful author and chair of Edventure Holdings, said she had found a PR person at the end of her hotel swimming pool, waiting to invite her to an event.

Steve Ulfelder, editor of the In Depth section of Computerworld (where the articles ran) said: 'Comdex is the big dance for the whole IT industry, when the hype springs into high gear. We target the computer professionals who are hype-resistant. We wanted to show readers our side and take a fairly cold, hard look at how the hype machine works.'

One hi-tech PR specialist was offended: 'We are trying to do our jobs, and we often help Computerworld and its rivals to do theirs. I don't understand why it would run these articles, especially when there must be a shortage of space in their Comdex issue. It seems very self-indulgent'

Ulfelder said the articles were meant to be entertaining, and expressed surprise that PR people had even read them.

 

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