Friday, August 04, 2006

Withdrawal symptoms

A common occurrence for journalists must be a request, more often than not from a PR person but also from other sides, to withdraw a story that has already run.

Now I have to question the logic of this action: What’s the use of withdrawing a story, when already, the news is obviously out there, people have seen it, and it is already common knowledge? The worst thing is when we’re asked to do this after getting a story on fair and square terms – through our own efforts of interviewing and getting comments from the relevant people involved in the story. We didn’t approach any PR person to arrange any interview, get quotes, comments or pictures. And then a call comes through to withdraw a story. It’s a pity when this happens because 1. We’re a news organisation, and we’re just doing our job and 2. We’re not beholden to anybody and we’re not an extension of any company/agency’s PR arm.

There was this one time when we received an earful from an agency PR professional, who was unhappy because we ran a piece of news without getting any input from her. And the best part of the whole situation was, get this: it was the client who had given us the news as well as comments.

We’re not an unreasonable team, but having us bend over backwards to suit any company’s agenda isn’t going to cut it either. It’s tough and there’re always going to be sticky situations, but hopefully there’ll be less of that as all of us, as different parts working together, undergo a continuous educational process in getting-to-know-how-you-work better.

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