Who says PR people don’t understand what journalists have to go through?
Tim Sutton, CEO of Charles Barker, tells a tale of his early training in
PR which included writing features for clients’ in-house magazines. His
first assignment sounded promising - to interview a senior executive of
a large Japanese electronics company.
Unfortunately it soon transpired that the man’s English was none too
hot. ‘So how is business going?’ enquired Sutton as an opening gambit.
‘Ah, business good,’ replied the client after reflection.
Sutton followed up by asking what new developments were in the
pipeline.‘Ah, semi-conductor,’ came the full reply, which Sutton duly
noted, while breaking out in an increasingly cold sweat at wondering how
he was going to spin 1,500 words out of this.
‘So..what...about...the... market generally?’ said Sutton. At this, his
interviewee brightened and produced from a drawer a comprehensive,
illustrated rundown of the whole market...in English. Hugely relieved,
Sutton went through the tome line by line with him, noting it all down.
As he was putting away his pen, he was stunned when the man abruptly
announced that Sutton should ‘not use anything from market
Sutton stared at the three on-the-record words in his notebook in
despair, but on his way out fortunately spied a product brochure, from
which he was able to weave a plausible article and save his bacon.
‘But,’ says Sutton, ‘the really funny thing is that he phoned me when
the feature came out to tell me how good he thought it was.’
Edited by Rebecca Dowman