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Callbacks after deadline

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by KJIM, Jun 23, 2006.

  1. KJIM

    KJIM Well-Known Member

    How do you diplomatically handle it when a source finally returns your call after deadline?

    I just had a situation where I struggled to reach the right person for over a week – he even stood me up for a phone interview – but, after I'd given up and written off of a news release, the PR guy got back with me. Not the same guy who blew me off, but he offered to get me in touch with the guy I needed (the one who blew me off).

    However, the offer came on the day the story was due, and a day after the editor gave him my contact information. By that time, I had finished the story. I could have re-jiggered it, but I was just so irritated at the company by that time. Plus, the release I worked off of had a quote from the right guy, so it's not like they weren't represented.

    This is not a news story. It's an equipment preview for a sport and translates into roughly 400 words on four different manufacturers' new product lines. I said thanks but no thanks, the story was done.

    Was that right to do? Had it been a real news story I might have reconsidered, but in this case I feel OK with the decision, even though Mr. PR and Mr. Product Manager might be pissed.

    I just never know how to tell someone they missed the boat.
  2. sportsed

    sportsed Guest

    I wouldn't feel bad ... this can't be the first time PR guy called back and missed someone's deadline.
  3. wickedwritah

    wickedwritah Guest

    A lot of times, I just don't return the calls. They'll figure it out when they read the paper.
  4. slappy4428

    slappy4428 Active Member

    It's even better when you're taking results and it's like an hour after you're off the boards...
    "But can't I just...?'
    NO! If you can't meet deadline, you can't I just anything...
  5. Smallpotatoes

    Smallpotatoes Well-Known Member

    This happens to me a lot with second and third sources for features. I'll call on Sunday or Monday night and the call won't be returned until Wednesday morning, after deadline. College coaches seem to be the worst about it.
    I've often wondered if I'm just not giving myself enough time to do these stories or if it's just something that's going to happen no matter what I do.
  6. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    I would call back in a nice way and let them know that they miss out. This isn't some business where they can put things off for as long as they want.

    In a story like this where they might want to be included (say the company is UPS). Thanks for getting back but, sorry, as my requested stated the deadline was yesterday. I wish I could have included you in the story but I got quite a bit of good information from FedEx so the story should be fine.

    Thanks again. Hope next time we can make it work out.

    In a news story, I would call back and explain that the deadline had passed and they you have tried to reach them via X, Y and Z.

    You never know what feathers are going to be ruffled and they may come back with some excuse that you never tried to get their side. So you want to document that you did and they didn't respond.

    It also lets people know that you are going to do you job with or without them but if they get with it, it might be to their benefit.
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