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A Journalist’s POV: 3 Questions From A PR Team

One of the great reasons to work in a PR agency is the diversity of clients you meet. If you love tech PR, you might have the opportunity to learn something about data security, e-payments, or explore the future of 3D-printing. These assignments also afford some of us the opportunity to meet and develop relationships with terrific journalists with deep knowledge. We recently helped client HiFX, an international currency firm, launch in the U.S. An important outlet for HiFX is the industry vertical Digital Transactions. Here’s what Sr. Editor Kevin Woodward shared with us about his experience working with PR professionals.

For people who have never worked with Digital Transactions – what three things should they know about the publication? Digital Transactions is focused on the electronic payments industry in the U.S. and Canada, and our readers expect us to provide them with “hard” news in the category. Something PR people should keep in mind when working with me: Editorial integrity is paramount. This means I am relying on my PR contacts for fastidious fact-checking before they pitch me, or if they’re not certain of an answer, to be able to get the most accurate response from their client. Also important to me as a journalist is that contacts never resort to over or under-promising what they can deliver just to “sell in” a story. And even though we look for hard news, our coverage is broad, and so is our readership, so we appreciate “creative” pitches as long as they are well thought out.

Can you tell us what accounts for a less-than-successful experience with a PR pro? One of my worst PR pet peeves involves professionals who intercede when either myself or a source is speaking to explain what they think either intends to say. This kind of micro-managing and undermining of a client interview is a good way to see your client cut from a story and make me reluctant to work with you again.

Can you share an example of a great experience you had with a PR rep who helped facilitate a story for you? It’s difficult to single out one. Good experiences involve a professional who responds quickly, even when it’s just to provide an update on my inquiry; one who avoids using jargon and industry-speak (especially without explaining it); one who inquires about my deadline if I fail to offer it; one who avoids unnecessarily interrupting interviews to provide an interpretation of either what I or the interviewee said, or immaterial information; (see above). I always appreciate a PR pro who offers alternatives if a source is unavailable.

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