Flack on Friday: Journos and PRs make peace, Apple breaks PR silence, PRWeek jogs to it

In Flack this week: Journalists and PR pros trade blows, Apple in issuing statement shock, and PRWeek runs rings around adland (kind of).

Kiss and make up?

This week’s ‘Flacks v Hacks’ series has given both sides a licence to vent their frustrations about the other’s behaviour.

PR people waste journalist’s time by sending irrelevant press releases, without doing any research, and then compound it by calling up and asking if the journalist has received said release.

Journalists, on the other hand, are rude; rude and aggressive, rude and ego-driven, or just plain rude.

But let’s not forget that journalists and PRs also had positive things to say about each other in the survey as well.

One journalist said: "The best understand journalism and what makes a good story and don't just bombard you with releases and expect that is all you need/want."

Meanwhile, a PR said of journalists: "They tend to possess some good qualities - tenacity, work ethic, energy, interest, curiosity, the desire to get to the facts," while another PR said the trait they most admired was "their ability to handle booze," which was also on-point.

Flack likes to think of this survey as having been something of a Relate-style marriage counselling exercise so, now that we know what we most like and dislike about each other; can’t we all just play to our strengths (and play down our flaws)? 

iComment: I approve, says journalist

Apple's decision this week to hit back hard against the European Commission's declaration that it owed the Irish Government billions in tax received a warm reception from one journalist who appeared irked by the tech giant's generally taciturn manner.

In journalist circles Apple is notorious for being difficult to get any on- or off-the-record information from - although that is a tactic that seems to pay dividends in the form of rumours and gossip that circulate nearly constantly about its products.

The last time Apple came out and made a big statement in this vein was when the FBI apparently hoped to force it to create a digital master key or 'backdoor'. The company might not be very chatty, but at least when it does say something, it's worth listening to. 

An evening out with the EU and a 'former' journalist

This week Flack received an email invitation to an event later this month organised by the University of Oxford's Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism on how fair and balanced media reporting was ahead of the EU referendum.

Not wishing to cast aspersions, but Flack's eyebrows were raised by the information that the event is organised "in partnership with the European Parliament Office", and will be held at the European Parliament's outpost in London (which might well be available for any PR firms needing a bit more space in the next 18 months or so, if Theresa May's brainstorming went well).

Flack was also slightly amused at the description of one of the people on the panel - former TaxPayers' Alliance CEO Jonathan Isaby is described as "editor, BrexitCentral and former journalist". The editor of a new website that will publish daily, but also a "former journalist"? Ouch. 

PRWeek takes on adland in Regent's Park

Media industry and ad agency rivalries played out on the paths of Regent's Park on Thursday night, as the LGN Wellbeing 5km pitted teams from Omnicom, Havas, McCann London, PRWeek owner Haymarket and others against each other.

PRWeek news editor Sam Burne James and digital editor Rob McKinlay didn't quite make the podium, by the small margin of about, erm, quite a few minutes - in spite of the ideal sunny, still conditions and the obligatory embarassing group warmup.

In a turn of events that Flack found borderline seedy, there was also a modelling agent at the event scouting out new talent. Flack's charms didn't catch the eye of the agent in question, but fortunately there was a bar at which sorrows could be drowned (and which opened slightly before the starting gun of the race).

Flack wonders if adland was taking too literally the comment from a leading creative at last year's PRCA conference that the ad industry was "running scared" from the PR industry.

Anyhow, congratulations to the winners Fergal Smithwick - who has moved from Dentsu Aegis to Omnicom in the past year, and MullenLowe Profero's Lucy Werthein. Full results will be up on the LGN Wellbeing website later today.

Not so ridiculous

One PRWeek article’s proved popular this week has been our look at some ridiculous requests that journalists have asked of PRs.

But not all journalists have found them quite so absurd, it seems. Flack can reveal that at least one of Flack’s colleagues (on a different publication, I hasten to add) concurs with the following tweeter’s standpoint:

 

 

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