Last Call: Leave a message following the burp

We all know that journalists will do anything to avoid returning the numerous calls of PR pros, and that PR pros live in perpetual voice mail hell. But some go to quite extraordinary lengths to throw pros off the scent.

Rather than leave the customary, 'I can't answer your call right now.

Please leave a message at the beep,' Last Call hears that one science writer from The New York Times has simply recorded his own belch.

The PR team at Web measurement firm Media Metrix tells Last Call that this particular writer is not alone in his dislike of unsolicited calls.

Their pitches have been met with such friendly messages as: 'If you're calling with a story, leave your number. If you are a PR person don't leave anything.'

One PR pro, who often encounters the familiar, 'If you're calling to ask me about your fax, I got it,' says she has no time or stories for rude journalists. 'We all have challenges in our jobs. There is no need for journalists to be so hierarchical.'

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