Lunch (Photo credit: munir)

One experienced public relations practitioner was offended by my post “More Tips from the Newsroom” suggesting that breakfasts and lunches are not efficient ways of sharing information as they waste time. The offense was, I believe, primarily because of my suggestion that the food is seen as a way to entice journalists to attend the functions. I really did not intend to suggest that this is the case for all practitioners but I know that some people do think like this.

Here is the comment:

“As a former journalist, now a Public Relations Consultant, who has taught hundreds of people about good PR principles and media relations, I am offended by your comments.

In my book, breakfast or luncheon meetings are not about the meals, per se; but, rather a “time-based” convenience, to make the best use of journalist and client availability. However, it could be that, in the crassness of what goes for public relations today, the meal is the thing. But, it is tactless to paint such a broad band.

I am not into feeding journalists anything besides timely information;

and I have never called the newsroom to find out what happened to my story; and have taught my associates and students to refrain from making that mistake.

I have always maintained that “news” can always find its own legs…and does not have to be buffeted by enticements, or follow up calls. And, it is my hope that more of today’s PR practitioners will come to “understand” that they can “cross it,” because, in many cases they are the source. And, ultimately, media houses would have more respect for them, if they simply issued timely, quality news.”

This was my response:

“Sorry to have offended you Carmen, but I can state categorically that your position is not shared by all practitioners and business operators, and that some do believe that food is an enticement to journalists. I have heard the comments.

Secondly, for those who do not hold that view and believe, like you, that it is an efficient method of sharing information, I don’t know many journalists who would agree with that. As stated, many of us do not like breakfasts and lunches because they take way too much time and we believe that there are much quicker and efficient ways of sharing information, and therefore would much prefer a simple press briefing.

Not trying to be offensive, just practical and honest.

Again, the fact that you don’t call into media houses to enquire about your story doesn’t mean it is not done. It is done. All the time.

Photo – Michael Rhys
Wikimedia Commons

I would hope the professional, experienced public relations practitioners are not insulted by my posts (the first was called “Five Tips from the Newsroom), but the reason I have felt the need to write them is that we are the ones on the receiving end of all the unprofessionalism and what you call crassness that passes for public relations nowadays. I can understand why you would feel offended. However, unfortunately, all practitioners do not operate at the level of professionalism as you do. I wish they did.”

I appreciate the feedback and the opportunity to address this. What do you think? Were my comments offensive? Did they reflect reality? What would be your comment or suggestion?