It’s sad to see PRs stabbed in the back by their clients

To a certain extent, I imagine doing Apple’s PR must be a slightly cushy number. Apple are usually extremely reticent to talk about anything you want to talk about, preferring instead to drone on about what they want to talk about; if you’re writing a feature on almost any subject except what was in the last Apple press release, you’ll usually find it impossible to get a spokesperson out of Apple.

Unfortunately, it’s not like there’s much you can do about it. You can’t exactly hint that most of your Macworld feature will be about Dell as a result, now can you?

So that’s easy PR living, right? No pesky interviews to arrange, just press events aka ‘parties’. Although there’s a large number of people who got into PR to be professional communicators, etc, there’s still a sizeable number who got into PR because they wanted to be party planners but couldn’t pass those tricky entrance exams. Again, I imagine that within the tech PR industry, there’s a group who aspire to work on the Apple account as the zenith of their profession because it’s all the ‘good’ bits of PR without the ‘bad’ bits.

Or at least it would be if it weren’t for the facts the parties will typically be composed of those highly socially skilled, meterosexual fashionistas: tech journalists.

Bite PR is the firm that currently has the Apple account. Wherever two or more tech journalists gather, if those two names are mentioned in the same sentence, you can guarantee the next 15 minutes will be spent relating amusing tales of inefficiency and cluelessness. I’ve already told you about a few of my personal experiences (company four here, here, here, here, here and here) and I’m sure if you search around, you can find tales from other UK journalists. Sorry, Bite. That’s just the way it is.

Worryingly for you guys, Apple appears to be cottoning on to this fact.

Continue reading “It’s sad to see PRs stabbed in the back by their clients”

New rights to consider

PWD 34One of the big tussles in freelance journalism these days is over rights: who has copyright over an article; what media it can be used in, by whom and when; how much this all costs; and so on. It’s a long and complicated business with freelances on one side, wanting to be able to get the most money possible from their work, and publishers on the other, wanting to get as much for their money as they can.

Normally, the debate is over reprints, reuse on web sites, etc, but in this Web 2.0 world, there are new things to think about. I mention this in passing (since I’m not too fussed about it), but is anyone looking at the rights involved in having an article read out during a podcast?

I’ve recently had a tutorial in Practical Web Design on embedding Google Maps in web sites. And now, it’s pretty much been read out, introduction and all, on the PWD podcast. As mentioned, I’m not too fussed (although it would have been nice to have been credited), but has anyone been looking at the rights situations, because I think Web 2.0 is going to throw up a whole heap of interesting copyright questions?

The gulf between journalists and everyone else

Sometimes things you take for granted as a journalist can take you by surprise. Take this clipping from last week’s Metro.

Metro clipping

Now, I read this and I couldn’t see much wrong. But then, I’m a journalist, inured to the way of court-reporting and the structure’s of news writing.

Headline teases with the most interesting bit. Word in quotes to imply it was said by someone other than the paper. Opening sentence continues with that most interesting thing from the court’s proceedings but a bit more information. “An inquest heard yesterday” is code for “a witness said”. Second sentence explains the background to the inquest. Third sentence adds more detailed. Fourth cycles back to the first sentence to give it the context in which it was said.

As a journalist, nothing wrong with that, huh?

I got this yesterday from one of his friends:

“Muppet” repeated three times in two sentences *and* the headline? Talk about playing it for laughs?��Ǩ�� It basically makes out that was the coroner’s verdict. It’s also Malcolm not Martin that they’ve pictured. Unbelievably rude.

His family are distraught.

Now, clearly printing a picture of another member of The Wonder Stuff rather than the deceased himself is bad, bad, bad. But the family are distraught over that nib, in part because they don’t know ‘the code’.

There’s a gulf there, isn’t there?

What’s he doing?

Have you ever had that odd feeling, when doing a phone interview, that your interviewee is doing something odd? First he sounded a bit out of breath halfway through, then the mobile phone signal started going a bit wonky, then I could swear there was the sound of water splashing.

I have the oddest feeling my interviewee was in the bath.

Oh well.

Not as weird as the interview I did where the French CEO of the company had hurt his back mountaineering the day before and was completely off his head on his painkillers, though.

When to upgrade a laptop

Like most freelances, I’m extremely stingy when it comes to upgrading gadgets. I don’t know why it should be any different for those on staff than those not – maybe it’s because we’re a bit older than most and the gadget phase is starting to pass us by.

All I know for sure is that it was three and a half years before my iMac was out of its prime and that I’ve now had my PowerBook for three years (almost as long as I’ve been a freelance) and I still haven’t upgraded it.

As you may know from my earlier entry on the subject, my PowerBook has been getting a bit temperamental of late. Well, yet another thing’s gone wrong with it. It still works, but it’s gone wrong.

Here’s a list of all the flaws I’ve come across so far. At what point would you have returned or replaced it?

  • Tendency to freeze for no adequately explored reason (I ignored it)
  • Little rubber feet falling off (I let them)
  • Great big black marks appearing on the surface (nothing I could do)
  • Heat scoring appearing on the surface (nothing I could do)
  • Hard drive packing up (replaced it)
  • New hard drive packing up (replaced it again)
  • ‘7’ key falling off (keep putting it back on)
  • AC power supply stopped working (replaced it)
  • Battery life reduced to 40 minutes (replaced it)
  • Screen starting to split away from the back (looking for the super-glue, right now)

If I hadn’t read such scary things about the new MacBooks, I think I would have bought a replacement by now. Plus the 12″ PowerBook has such a great keyboard, even if the 7 keeps falling off. Plus probably all my accessories would stop working as well if I upgraded.

I’m still thinking about it though. Maybe next year…