PR practitioners are divided about whether they would bother pitching in stories to the much-derided new freesheet The London Weekly.
Styling itself 'the light-hearted paper for light-hearted Londoners', the newspaper was littered with spelling mistakes and typos as it launched last Friday.
Meanwhile, the front page story appeared to have been cut and pasted from a press release.
Braben MD Matt Bourn said he was 'highly cautious' about pitching to such a publication. Based on the launch issue, he said: 'I'm not sure right now of the credible value of this as a PR vehicle for clients. This paper right now could easily cheapen any brand involved with it and it would be difficult to argue it was a valuable use of resource to secure a profile in this.'
Mandate Communications deputy head of media Gary Cleland went further: 'At the moment, I think more people are wondering whether The London Weekly is itself a leftfield PR stunt than worrying about whether to pitch their own clients to it.'
However, other agency heads said they would target the newspaper.
Chris McCafferty of Shine Communications said: 'There will be interest and buzz around the early editions and, as long as there is decent distribution, I'm sure we will target it. The longer-term value of the product remains to be seen. We would have to make up our minds once we understand the readership and product in more depth.'
Despite criticising the publication, Frank MD Andrew Bloch said he would still be targeting the paper: 'It claims a 250,000 circulation targeting young Londoners, so it can't be ignored.'
Eulogy CEO Adrian Brady said he would not rule out pitching to The London Weekly, adding: 'It's great that there is another print title out there for the PR industry to target. By providing engaging and relevant content, we can help shape a niche print product aiming to fill a tough market'.
However, some PROs have found it difficult to contact the paper's editorial team. Golley Slater account manager Pally Kaur told PRWeek he had received an email from the news desk stating it had been 'completely inundated'.
See PRWeek's exclusive interview with the London Weekly's deputy editor Alan Mills here.
How I see it
Andrew Bloch, MD, Frank
'The London Weekly is trying to succeed where its predecessors failed ...
If News International and Associated were unable to crack the tricky free London market, then I'm not sure anyone can. The news agenda appears to be a bit all over the place, it is littered with typos and much of the copy is clearly lifted directly from press releases.'
Gary Cleland, Deputy head of media, Mandate Communications
'I wouldn't be especially targeting it at the moment. The claimed 250,000 print run seems unlikely, given how hard it was to get a copy, and anyone who did get one spent more time discussing the poor standards than the editorial content.'
20 Tube stations stocked the first issue of The London Weekly*
£5.5m was raised by the publisher for the venture**
250,000 copies were distributed in the first week**
1.5m people read the first edition of The London Weekly**
*The Guardian website **According to the publisher