How to annoy a journalist like Sam Metcalf

Ahead of our Meet The Journalists event in partnership with Enterprise Nation we spoke to our panel of journalists and asked them very simply “what annoys you with regards PR people pitching their stories?”

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Metcalf – “delighted?” Try harder.

First up is Sam Metcalf, editor of  The Business Desk East Midlands

1. The three-minute warning: with editorial teams cut to the bone, journalists are busier than ever. So, the last thing they need is a PR ringing them up asking them if they can send a press release. Whilst I understand this wildly complex psychological trick is supposed to make me look out for the news landing in my inbox, in all reality it’s annoyed me because: I can’t stop you sending me an email; and if the news is strong enough I’ll use it anyway. Please – only call if you have a breaking story (unlikely) or if you want to offer me money/take me to the pub/have a free holiday you’d like me to review.
2. Hyperbole. If something is “brand new” then it’ “new”. State-of-the-art machinery? Whatever you say, boss. And, if you’ve managed to pull off the coup of the century by luring talent from your rivals, please say something a little more than you’re “delighted”. Everyone is “delighted” in appointments press releases. Your faces must ache from all that smiling. In short: cut the crap – give me the story.
3. I don’t want to sound like a complete misanthrope, but if you’re a multinational company then sending me a press release saying you’ve raised £200 for charity is, at best, pretty embarrassing – and at worst actively makes me slightly angry for a few seconds. Charity stories seems wildly popular because of the growing importance of CSR, and I get this, but think for a second; is raising a £200 going to look good when the photo of you handing the comedy cheque over is taken in front of your new sports car parked outside your swanky offices?