We don't know enough about the other side

by Volker Weber


On November 12, 2002 -- yes, my memory is terrible as in 'I don't forget' -- I read a dossier about myself. And it was very good.

I was in Florence for an IBM event and I returned from a party to our hotel (@Vesey, this is where me met). At the welcome desk I picked up some material and in that stack of paper, there was a folder intended for an IBM executive, preparing her for the event. This was the first time I read the "other side".

Then yesterday I read this tweet by my esteemed colleague:

Does Microsoft Germany have dossiers about journalists? Of course they do.

It dawned on me that journalists know too little about the hard work of PR professionals. The work they do when preparing meetings between executives and journalists. I was just lucky to have seen it years ago. And it was quite a revelation. Not that this folder contained anything shocking. It was just a testament of the excellent work that went into it. What was in there?

This was fascinating reading. Not only did I have everything I needed to prepare my story. I also knew which questions I did not need to ask, because I already had all the answers to those. This was one of the best and most enjoyable interviews I ever had. An intelligent conversation between two well prepared people.

I wasn't supposed to have this folder and I returned it in the most discrete way. But it has opened my eyes to just a small part of what PR people do. And it made me curious enough to learn more about this profession. I think that journalists should do an internship in a PR agency to understand what is going on there.

We can turn this observation around. There are too many PR people who have no idea what happens between their pitch and an article in a newspaper.


Ha ha! Only the other day I was remembering that Florence conference. Totally agree about the value of a top-quality agency. For a tech company intelligent and well-thought-through PR is probably the best form of marketing, IMHO.

Vesey Crichton, 2016-08-08

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