It was a complete buzz kill to see the Business Insider post What PR People Really Think Of Journalists. The post was written by a PR person under the alias “Pitchman” in response to David Strom’s post 10 Biggest PR Blunders of 2011. I appreciate Pitchman’s frustration, but I unequivocally disagree with his content and approach.
Strom’s list cited legitimate things that bug the shit out of reporters. Things like “stating this is the ‘first ever thing’ when it most certainly isn’t” and “not answering a direct question for more information with specifics” are just a few of the frustratons cited by Strom. What Strom didn’t do was pick up the entire PR community by its ankles and throw it under the bus. He identified specific examples of things that make reporters go bananas.
Pitchman, on the other hand, wrote a disrespectful piece that stereotyped all journalists. His aggressive, accusatory tone made my skin crawl. There is nothing constructive in his list:
1. You lack common courtesy
2. Your laziness knows no bounds
3. You work at a crappy trade rag (blog)
4. You don’t play by the rules
5. You’re a stenographer
6. You’re creepy
7. You’re just projecting self-loathing
8. You look a gift horse in the mouth
9. You’re a humorless bully
10. You don’t know your station
The paragraph of content that followed each itemized accusation was beyond insulting and quite frankly juvenile. He did more harm to the PR community than he will ever know. And at the end of the day, he just gave the media another reason to pig pile on us all.
Let’s be honest, stereotyping is flat out wrong. There is no good in any stereotypes. Interestingly, I can’t imagine a single person who has walked the planet who has not been on the receiving end of some unfair stereotype. A few examples include:
- Irish are drunks
- Americans are fat
- Politicians are crooks
- Gays are pedophiles
- Jews are cheap
- Muslims are terrorists
- Southerners are rednecks
- Mexicans are illegal
- French are snobs
- Men are jerks
- Women are emotional
Just based on that short list, I am an emotional, fat, drunk pedophile.
We all need to stop stereotyping. When we catch ourselves doing it, we need to acknowledge it and try harder the next time. We need to respectfully call people out on stereotyping when someone around us does it. We need to start spreading the good karma that treats people as individuals and stop lumping groups into negative piles. Think of all the good karma that we could spread by just making this one small adjustment.
What do you think of Strom and/or Pitchman’s content and approach?