11 things journalists hate about PR


The love-hate relationship between journalists and PR people has sparked endless debate over the decades.

There is no getting away from the fact that we NEED each other to survive – but each profession harbours at least a few pet peeves about the other.

Today I’m featuring 11 PR practices which REALLY annoy journalists – from putting kisses on press releases, to phoning on deadline and spelling absolutely everything wrong.

Next week, it will be the turn of PR peeps to fight back – all comments welcome!


1: Don’t share the love via press releases…

Writer and author Glenda Young, who edits @CoroStreetBlog,  has a No.1 pet hate about PR people – kisses. “I get emails from entertainment PR people sending out press releases, and they put kisses on them. I hate it!,” she said.

2: Don’t keep chasing up emails – at least, not obsessively

Sam Slaughter, spirits editor for @themanualguide, felt moved to take to Twitter after just such an incident: “Three emails, each within 24 hours of each other. Dude, really? Calm down.”


US-based crime reporter Therese Apel, of @Reuters, @USAToday and @ClarionLedger, has threatened to set fire to PR missives which annoy her. Indeed, she Tweeted: “PLEASE DO NOT SEND AN ENTIRE PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN IN CAPITAL LETTERS. I WILL PRINT IT OUT AND BURN IT ON GENERAL PRINCIPLE”.


4: Don’t ignore press enquiries

North East journalist Sue Kirby finds PR people who don’t return her calls particularly annoying. “I recently rang a press office with a question and, when I got no response after several hours, I rang back and was told they had been too busy to look into it! That should never happen.”

5: Don’t keep calling – especially not on deadline

Casey Newton, Silicon Valley editor at @verge, often finds calls from PR peeps annoying. “At any given time, more than 90% of all PR people are just following up on an email they sent yesterday”, he Tweeted.

6: Don’t over-promote

Consumer savings writer Josh Elledge believes the cardinal sin of PR is over-the-top self-promotion. “Seriously, do not over-promote when a journalist interviews you as an expert source,” he advises.

7: DO know your facts

PR people who don’t know their facts are a pet peeve of Peter Kafka, senior media editor at recode.net. Indeed, he was recently asked to email his questions to a person named on a press release – because “they might not have all the facts”. A #PR fail.


8: Don’t stalk

Sydney Cromwell, managing editor of Starnes Publishing, got so fed up with PR people trying to attract her attention that she begged on Twitter: “After follow-up email #9 with no reply, you can safely assume I’m not interested.”

9: Not everything can be made relevant

Guardian columnist Rhik Samadder was so stunned to receive a press release about the “Brexit Brow” that he felt compelled to Tweet it. The brow, according to the release, was to help people “feel more in control” in such uncertain socio-economic times. “I don’t even know where to begin with this”, said Rhik.

10: Dump the jargon

Keep press releases clear, to the point and accurate – dump the jargon. Kerry Sheehan, ex-national journalist and now head of comms at NELFT NHS Foundation Trust, states: “The only way a jargon-laiden press release is going is spam filter!”

11: Brush up on your spelling

Spell-check your masterpieces before sending them out – or risk the wrath of technology writer Holly Brockwell. Indeed, one particularly bad specimen of a press release made her so grumpy that she not only Tweeted the contents – but corrected it as well.



*** If you have any pet peeves about PR or journalism please comment below ***



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