My reading list this morning served up a fresh reminder of why I love and loathe journalists.
Let’s start with the distaste. Self described “jaded journalist” Rafe Needleman continues to chide public relations practitioners in his blog PR Pro Tips. His most recent missive is a narrative of being interrupted by a flack while in the press room at an industry conference.
Hey Rafe, you need to be a bit more clued in when it comes to expectations. You’re not working at your office, at home or in a quiet nook at Starbucks.
You are in the press room. There are PR people around. It should not be surprise that a company representative might approach you.
Now on to the love.
I came across this well composed piece by Lucy Kellaway of the Financial Times that calls out the CEO at clothier Burberry for her nonsensical corporate speak. Here is a surreal quote from Burberry’s most recent annual report:
In the wholesale channel, Burberry exited doors not aligned with brand status and invested in presentation through both enhanced assortments and dedicated, customized real estate in key doors.
Kellaway explains how “this meets the most important criterion for jargon – it is utterly impenetrable. What are all these doors? Has Burberry acquired Travis Perkins building supplies? And what is an enhanced assortment? As for all those other words – channel, aligned, enhanced, dedicated, key – they are all clichés, but to put so many of them together in such a short space takes great skill.”
One could convincingly argue that Kellaway is just as jaded as Needleman. Yet, I applaud Kellaway for putting her position of authority and influence to good by taking on a high profile corporate CEO who has chosen to exclude any voice of reason from her ranks of corporate communicators.
In comparison, Needleman is simply a bully. He knows PR reps have to kowtow to him so they’re an easy mark