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Anal PR people...ugh

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by flexmaster33, Aug 12, 2010.

  1. flexmaster33

    flexmaster33 Active Member

    So, I'm doing a feature on a local pro soccer player to fill the August gap before our focus on prep sports kicks off in the fall.

    Knowing how PR-types work, I call and e-mail a request to get an interview. I was also on hand during a minor-league playoff over the weekend and touched base in person. After four days of nothing, I search my own database, find the guys cell number (I had covered him since high school and have solid contacts with the family) and set it up myself.

    I show up at the appointed time only to have the player apologizing when I show up because the PR guy has "cancelled" the interview, saying he'd prefer reporters meet after practice and not be invited to a player's home. I check my messages and sure enough there's one from that morning (my bad for not catching it, his bad for late notice) saying the interview is indeed canceled.

    I explain about a tight schedule and all and ask the player if he'd like to drive over to a local coffee shop instead to conduct the interview, explaining that my questions are going to be the same whether I'm sitting on the turf after practice or at a table sipping a drink.

    He's a good guy and agrees to it, so the interview is done and we've shot the main art. I've since explained via e-mail the situation and asked for action shots from the team...two days and no response yet. Although, I guess it requires about a week for PR people to get back, so I'll wait.

    Crazy thing is that this player lives about a half-mile from my office, it made so much more sense to conduct the interview in our town rather than driving 20 minutes into the city and paying for parking to have a team official leaning over his shoulder to eavesdrop.

    Give me a break!!!
  2. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    I would politely let the PR person know that if they want to set the time and place for the interview, they need to respond promptly. Four days without even a email or call to let you know they are working on it doesn't cut it.
  3. jfs1000

    jfs1000 Member

    Politely tell the PR guy that you don't need his help with the interview. The reason the PR guy is there is to mete out a large number of requests, to manage accesss, and to provide cover to the interview subject that may not want to talk.

    If you have a prior relationship and can get the interview on your own, and the subject agrees to it, there is no need to clear it with the PR guy. Out of courtesy, I would let him know about the interview, but a PROFESSIONAL player can speak for himself.

    College? It gets tricky because SID offices notoriously have tight reign on their players under the guise that they are "college students."

    Rule of thumb for on anything but major college (non-breaking story) to go through the subject if yo have the contact.
  4. cyclingwriter

    cyclingwriter Active Member

    I really thought this thread was going to be more exciting.
  5. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    Yeah. I'd rather read about PR people who would bend over backward for you.
  6. Did that maybe have something to do with the word anal being in the subject line?
  7. zebracoy

    zebracoy Guest

    I think that after disregarding the PR folks' rules and doing the interview yourself, you may be waiting a long time for those photos.
  8. Rumpleforeskin

    Rumpleforeskin Active Member

    I don't know about you, but I think that would hurt.
  9. zagoshe

    zagoshe Well-Known Member

  10. flexmaster33

    flexmaster33 Active Member

    I'm not terribly concerned since we shot photos during the interview, but it would be nice to have some action shots, as well. I partially apologized in my e-mail after the fact, but simply explained that I had already arranged time in my week for the interview by the time he had called to cancel the morning of.
  11. Stitch

    Stitch Active Member

    Tell the PR person they must have down something horrible in life to be working for a minor league soccer team.
  12. Twoback

    Twoback Active Member

    Somebody here has buried the lede.
    There isn't a soccer team in America that shouldn't be "bending over backwards," to coin a phrase, to get anybody in the media to interview any of their players. (That includes Landon Donovan and Thierry Henry). There is not a single soccer player in America who has to do too much media.
    A soccer PR person who is screwing with an interview that will get his team more pub on the grounds of "control" ought to be brought in front of his/her bosses to explain why he/she is interfering with actual publicity for a team that GUARANTEED needs more than it has.
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