Opinion

Media distribution services need an overhaul

Journalists blame PRs for irrelevant press releases, but perhaps their anger should be directed at media distribution services

This is an apology.

It is for PRs who have sent irrelevant press releases to whom I may have been rude.

It is not a blanket apology.

For example, it does not apply to those who have chased up on an irrelevant press release to check when the said news would appear.

(As for those who add insult to injury by cheekily asking for a link – be gone with you!)

It also does not apply to those PRs who decide to argue that, contrary to my assertion that I never actually write on the subject of their release, they know that I actually do. (Sleep writing, it’s the bane of all journalists.)

As for the PR who had to explain what all the acronyms in her release meant, that should have been a clue that it wasn’t for me. But points for persistence.

I’m apologising because I have had a glimpse into the media listings for CorpComms Magazine. It wasn’t pretty. It wasn’t funny. It didn’t even resemble reality.

It started when I received a flurry of press releases about economic indicators. In a past life, I may have been interested – but, when I say past, I mean 20 years ago. I then started getting a raft of releases about industrial matters.

The common denominator: they were all sent by the same media distribution service, one with which I was not familiar.

So, I contacted the service, complained that they were at the root of my in-box problem, and asked what subjects they listed as of interest to CorpComms Magazine. This was their answer: ‘Corporate communications, Finance and financial services, Company and corporate news, Business, management and industry, Sharing economy/Gig economy.’

In short, I was interested in everything, which sounds like a cop out on their part. They apologised, adding that they would amend my listing. (The service was called Agility, so let’s hope it lives up to its name.)

Today, I received a release about the sale of ‘industrial assets’. I responded that it was not a subject of interest to me but asked which media distribution service the PR service used. I’m not going to name names, but seriously Gorkana should know better. Apparently, I’m a ‘B2B/Trade Business Management title’ interested in property management.

Yes, I’ve written about property companies – but from a corporate purpose or internal comms point of view. It’s like saying that Sainsbury’s is a supermarket group interested in forestry because it has a partnership with the Woodland Trust.

It’s time that the media distribution services took some responsibility for this. Maybe PRs should pass on every journalist’s irate response to an irrelevant press release? Or ask for a refund when coverage fails to materialise?