PR pros: Wait, wait, journalists, don’t lie to us

The author, a former TV reporter, discloses 10 dodges and excuses that are fit to print—or at least fit to send off in an emailed response to your pitch.

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Many journalists, despite their ability to ask tough questions, don’t like to utter the words “no” or “I’m not interested” to a PR pro pitching a story.

Reporters often prefer to ignore emails and rationalize that they are too busy to answer them anyway. (This rationalization is frequently made prior to their ducking into a back room to spend time complaining about management.)

However, if you press a journalist to provide a straight yes or no, don’t be surprised to hear one of the following dodges. (The real story is in italics.)

1. I’m too focused on another project to cover your story, but follow up later. (If you actually remember to do so, don’t expect a response.)

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2. I’ve been swamped, which is why I haven’t covered the story you pitched (even though I work in a small, slow news market which publishes stories about stolen bicycles).

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