What not to say

The Bad Pitch Blog has published a collaborative list of "The top ten things you should never say to the media." It is...

The Bad Pitch Blog has published a collaborative list of "The top ten things you should never say to the media." It is a fairly accurate compilation of things that make people like me want to either laugh derisively or punch holes in walls, such as:

"You'll be sorry tomorrow if you don't cover this news."

or,

"You should be interested in this because (the competition) covered it in their last issue."

But the one I would really like to highlight is #3 on the list:

"Can I review or edit this before it gets published?"

This question tends to infuriate me more than any other. I am asked this occasionally, and it seems to come from either a fresh-out-of-school PR grad who doesn't know any better, or from a relatively high-level PR executive, usually one who is a good source with important clients, who decides to try to finagle a little extra out of our relationship.

No respectable reporter at any respectable news outlet will agree to this request. The fact that we get asked it sometimes leads me to believe that some sources consider PRWeek more a propaganda organ for the industry than an actual news outlet, and that is not a good way to "build relationships," to say the least. In a VERY SMALL number of cases where I have judged it to be absolutely necessary, I have allowed sources to review their QUOTES ONLY in order to check them for accuracy and intent before publication. I've done this in instances where the story was important, the source was vital, and they were very touchy about cooperating. In general, I simply pledge to quote people accurately (and uphold that pledge). The request to review copy itself prior to publication is a no-go, period.

Unless you are dealing with OK! Magazine.

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