DIARY: Direct line excuse is new low in media relations

Excuses, excuses. Everyone makes them. Some go down in the annals of history - Ron Davies' 'moment of madness' springs to mind.

From time to time, every agency receives a call from PRWeek about a lost piece of business. Some public relations professionals avoid the issue, by being in everlasting, uninterruptable meetings. Others throw up the usual tosh about 'mutual decisions'. And very occasionally someone comes clean and admits it all went pear-shaped.

But this week a PRWeek journalist heard an excuse that could take some beating. It came from someone who, frankly, should have known better.

And we can only hope that this agency boss doesn't inspire the same kind of pathetic wimpishness in his staff.

This so-called PR professional was being quizzed about the loss of a major hi-tech account to a rival agency. But when asked to confirm the story, he told our hack: 'You've come through on my direct line, so I'm not going to take this call.'

Actually the reporter had been put through by reception. But our hapless PR pro was having none of it. 'I never give out this number,' he sniffed.

Back to Media Relations 101, methinks.

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