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Comments

David Binkowski

Instead of placing responsibility and blame on Pepper, you're missing what should have been option #1: train your team how to pitch properly. And as a backup, have someone review a pitch before sending it out. It was too long for an initial email/pitch, btw.

Double checking is just good practice; double-speak on the other hand...

wylie

Wow, David, you're actually condoning Jeremy Pepper's juvenile behavior?

I think you missed the point of this post. As I read this, it's not about PR 101. It's about character.

Instead of PR people talking about this... wanna hear the perspective from a journalist?

When I covered daily tech news, I received maybe 200 to 300 pitches a day. I've maybe seen tens of thousands of pitches in my lifetime. I didn't go around critiquing whether the pitch was too long or too short, or even if it was well written. After years of PR pitches and press releases in your inbox, you become desensitized. I had reached the point where I could scan pitches for 30 seconds to a minute for its news value -- the news value for my publication and its readers. The more information the better. (And I didn't care if the PR person spelled my name wrong, or whether I was part of some 200 email blast.) And after taking it all in, I decide if I'm interested. And if not, I delete it. I treated these email pitches as *personal* emails. Certainly not something to publish in a public forum.

And as for embargoes? C'mon. We all know embargoes for start-ups are a sliding scale kind of thing.

If Pepper is trying to use that PR pitch as an example of poor PR, then I can argue that it's an example of poor journalism on his part. It's not cut and dried that you post a story just because a PR person gave a little too much information before you've agreed to an embargo. If it's a large corporation that does that, and it's a huge announcement? Sure, you weigh the benefits of running the story with potentially burning your contacts at the company forever. But a small start-up groveling for coverage? Give me a break. You don't run and publish that story immediately and act like you got the scoop of the century.

I appreciate the changes that journalism is going through. I appreciate that anyone can write a blog these days -- even Pepper as a PR guy. But c'mon, this is amateur hour.

David Binkowski

I have no problem with what Jeremy did. What happened and happens to him (and others) has spiraled completely out of control and takes the practice of public relations down to the level of spamming. To that point, I disagree with your "put up with it, journalists do" POV. Since when are bloggers held to journalistic standards and when is it OK to spam bloggers? Pitching bloggers is part of the game - you have a blog, you get pitched - but to say it's somehow his responsibility to help this person pitch better is ludicrous. Even more so, it's bad form to not ask if someone wants to get the full download in advance. That's online PR 101.

Jeremy does help students, by the way. Ask the kids at Arizona, UGA, Auburn, or any of the students that follow him regularly on Twitter.

Pepper's blog, had they read it, is rarely - RARELY ever about publishing the sort of "news" this person sent along. So aside from strike one of the pitch being too long it's also completely off target.

I'll go back to my original point - the company needs to place blame where it belongs and learn from it. Can this girl recover from it? Sure, I've seen it first hand. It's called live and learn. But don't infer it's somehow the blogger's fault for not putting up with it - that's amateur.

Miiko Mentz

David, you've completely missed my point. This post is NOT about PR, flacks, journos, bloggers, pitches, embargoes, blah, blah, blah...it's about human decency and not being mean-spirited.

Let me say it AGAIN, I'm more than happy to debate PR tactics or opinions of what's a good or bad pitch with anyone, anytime because I have strong opinions on it all. Call me 408-858-7216.

wylie

Hilarious.

Pepper's Web site specifically says, "all pitches welcome." In fact, your Web site says you welcome pitches too. Well then, let the floodgates begin. You guys asked for it.

Sarah Carr

You're so right about the societal problem women have – especially in this industry. I am constantly reminded in my work that I am at a disadvantage with all of the web "gurus" who pride themselves in sitting at a computer all day long and write about how better equipped they are in business than the rest of us. Just because I'm a woman doesn't mean I'm an idiot when it comes to the industry or business – and doesn’t mean anybody has the right to treat me that way. I work my ass off to constantly improve my work, expand my knowledge, and contribute value to my community and industry. More than what these unsocialized idiots are doing.

It's really sad that people like Pepper (who probably have had no real-person interaction in 2 years because they sit behind their computer all day) think they're on a pedestal because they made a few lucky bucks from blogging. And seriously - WHO cares! Nobody in the general population even knows who you are so just get over it! Take a step back from your life and just be human.

It’s sickening and disturbing to witness how inhumane people can be to one another – especially in the same industry (PR)! And I understand that there are always going to be assholes out there – there’s no denying or avoiding that. But I bet that if the email pitch had been from a MAN this never would have happened and THAT’S what pisses me off the most.

Thanks for writing this, Miiko and for being a TRUE mentor in the business.

Abethurem

Wylie, you hit the jackpot right above, something that has trialed me since I began my days of PR (which was not that long ago).

These guys have their work email, personal email, Skype, IM's Twitters READILY available for ANYONE in their right mind to contact them on ANY topic. I've come across this issue before where people throw a stink over an email, when they even have their telephone numbers, mailing addresses plastered on their site or blog. Should I give you a multiple annoying calls at very inopportune times in your day? OR even better, should I go knock on your door and sing you my message in a banana costume?? Would that get your attention better? PLEASE do tell me....

I'd assume that one email, sitting quietly in your inbox (probably alongside hundreds of other emails, some relevant to your coverage area, some maybe not) does NO harm or inconvenience to you or your daily routine, besides checking email as you normally do, deleting what your not interested in and replying to what you are.

Instead some people take one email as a huge inconvenience to their day, and go out of their way, wasting their time and the other persons time, by creating a wave of pointing fingers and backlash against PR. When very simply... they could think their thoughts, roll their eyes and just DELETE the email if they are unhappy with the approach.

If you don't want to be contacted, don't give me and the WORLD your contact information.

David Binkowski

@wylie I do get pitched, and I typically don't write what I get sent. Then again, I am not the one bitching about how someone else uses their blog.

Miiko Mentz

@sarah carr You go girl!!

Yeah, men, especially white men, haven't a clue to the added complexity of being a woman in a male-dominated industry, such as tech and the music industry. And if you're good looking (as you are my dear) god help you because it's even more challenging to be heard on key issues and taken seriously.

My best friend who's highly intelligent and one of the hardest working people I know, and happens to also be a cute blond, has had to fight twice as hard as her male counterparts to get to where she is today because sadly her good looks and blond hair has worked against her for her entire career in the male-dominated music industry. A sad reality, just like eating your own kind is.

Let's rock on and keep it real!

Mike Driehorst

I'm sure you can argue the best ways to teach a junior staffer who makes one or more mistakes when dealing with people outside the company walls. I would guess that Jeremy does not always publicly out someone who practices poor media relations (poor use of embargo, long pitch, etc.).

When someone decides to or not is a judgment call. If you don't like it, fine. People have their own avenues -- like your blog, Miiko.

However, when you start to speculate as why Jeremy did what he did, and essentially call him sexist, then you lose credibility. It doesn't help that Sarah Carr expands on your sexist claims, and you and Sarah both blanket "white men" about not having a clue.

And, then Sarah labels Jeremy as some anti-social computer geek. I've never met Jeremy, but I know him enough that, that claim is BS.

Did you ask Jeremy why he published his Tumblr post before publishing yours? I'd guess not.

You're using your judgment (poor judgment, I'd say) to accuse him if you didn't first contact him, and being guilty of the same crime of which you accuse him.

Miiko, you definitely can argue how Jeremy dealt with the email pitch. But, you lose credibility when the post goes off topic and start making stereotypical statements.

Take care,
-Mike

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