Over the last couple of days, a former colleague of mine who is off to a bright career in communications and social media was blasted on the blog of a prominent journalist/blogger for a program he was running for a client. This self-professed technology expert named him by name and blasted not only the pitch but added some personal barbs too.
Whether you’re reading the Bad Bitch Blog, or had experiences with bad PR folks in the past, we all know this happens every day. There are terrible programs and pitches out there. In fact, I have been one of the most critical professionals out there calling for my colleagues to get a clue and start being more authentic and better at what they do. In my view, I think probably 60% of PR folks are completely clueless and unprofessional. I am often embarrassed and ashamed at the PR profession.
I find it disturbing the trend toward tactics of personal destruction bloggers and journalists is growing. The smugness and willingness of these so-called “professionals” to blast younger professionals who sometimes make mistakes or are given assignments that are off-base is ridiculous. If I listed out all of the lazy and careless mistakes I’ve encountered with the journalists and bloggers I’ve dealt with in my career, I could write a book. But I don’t “call them out” and use it as fodder and content on my blog. Instead, I give them direct feedback and a dose of honesty to help them get better. Sometimes they tell me to blow it out my backside and sometimes they thank me and it leads to a good discussion and even learning.
Did this pitch by my young friend cross the line or border on “bad”? I am not sure. What I do know is the person didn’t deserve his name plastered all over a self-absorbed bloggers page. I don’t care how influential or powerful a writer or blogger are, why not use it as a teaching moment or a way to give good feedback?
There are plenty examples of bad, unethical PR professionals and just as many in the media world. The difference is a small majority of writers finds pleasure in other people’s misery or embarassment. I wonder how they’d feel if we spilled the beans on how they ask us for free products, free trips or other favors all the time.
The bottom line is this: it’s up to those of us who care and strive to be great professionals – on both the communications side and the journalist/blogger side – to weed out bad practices and bad professionals the right way. This is not Salem and we don’t need to burn people at the stake to accomplish it.