I should have learned my lesson after I sent a rude joke to a journalist. It was one of those jokes you can send only to the girls in the office (and await stifled giggles). My email auto-predicted the recipient and replaced one of my colleagues with a journalist at a London paper. How my heart sank when she responded and the penny dropped. With moist palms I read: "I don’t think this one was meant for me, Sophie… Still we’ve all had a giggle…"
So when I had to have one of ‘those’ conversations with a journalist, I should have remembered. The client was keen to get into this paper; it was a good title and the perfect platform – and we had a great offering. I called off the back of an email from the journalist to gently and subtly establish how likely we were to get the client published versus the amount of work required. I established the situation, wrote a full record – including my opinion on whether it was worth the work – and sent it to my colleague. Ping, I received an email from said journalist saying: "I don’t think you meant to send me this, Sophie."
Yep, I had replied instead of forwarding. Again my heart sank but this time I couldn’t establish when it was going to hit the bottom. I re-read the email and – phew – I hadn’t said anything (too) out of place. Then I sent the "I’m so embarrassed" email. Mercifully, the reply came quickly and not only said he had deleted without reading but related a very entertaining story of it happening from his end.
Interestingly, these two gaffes served to promote the working relationship I had with both journalists. However, it’s not a method I’ll be employing regularly in my media relations in the future.