13 April 2004

In praise of the organ grinder's monkey

So here's what I love. I spend all day today fact-checking this enormous document -- a huge list of media contacts, right? All the local and state newspapers, radio stations, and tv stations. And, naturally, I ask to speak with the person that is already listed as the contact person, figuring they'll know the most about, um, themselves. And fer cryin' out loud, do I get attitude? Why yes, I get piles and piles of attitude!

Here I am, trying to make sure that, should something newsworthy happen to, on, or around the rather large organization I'm doing this research for, the news will get to the news distributor, promptly and efficiently. And they're all like, ***SIGH*** I GUESS I have a minute to tell you that you have our fax number correct (which, 19 times out of 20, I DID).

I mean really, folks, these are the people in PUBLIC RELATIONS. One woman even refused to give me her last name (she was the contact person). Another found my phone call to be "highly irregular, " and asked to speak to my supervisor. Most thought I was sneakily trying to ask them for money.

So I stopped asking for the "contact people." I started to gather that the person answering the phone was generally a secretary or an intern, knew the information I needed, and was genuinely thrilled to be allowed to display their competence. These charming folks were far more pleasant, accessible, and *forthcoming* than anyone else.

So there you have it.

Moral of the story: Go Straight to the Bottom.

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