Want to follow up with a reporter? Don’t call

Calling to ask “Did you get my email?” is the one of the fastest ways irritate a reporter. Here are three ways to follow up with them without picking up the phone.

Journalists, as a group, have a lot of pet peeves: sources who want to go off the record for no good reason, overly literal editors, and the Oxford comma to name a few.

But what’s their biggest complaint?

Getting calls from flacks who want to make sure their emails arrived. We live in 2013—the email always arrives.

Jeffrey Young, an otherwise calm and thoughtful Huffington Post reporter, once wished death on the PR pro who dares waste his time following up on an email. (“DIE IN A FIRE,” he tweeted).

Washington Post wunderkind Ezra Klein says he lets all calls go to voicemail, lest he waste his day confirming that—yes—the email arrived. Ivan Oransky, the executive editor of Reuters Health, published a list of more than 20 snarky responses reporters could use when they get those phone calls. (Hanging up and putting the call on indefinite hold were two popular tactics.)

Despite the near-universal condemnation, the calls keep coming.

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