Today the always-excellent Jim Romenesko discovered evidence of a big PR no-no in action. Seems that a five-paragraph story in the Jacksonville Daily Record may have borne some resemblance to the two-page press release accompanying the initial pitch–and whoever sent it thought that the team responsible deserved a little more credit.
Here’s the exchange as reprinted on Facebook by editor Marilyn Young, who hasn’t seen this sort of thing during more than three decades in the industry.
“Plagiarism” seems like an odd charge for regurgitating a press release, no?
Now, we could go through all the many reasons why this response, if accurate, was wildly inappropriate. But it’s already common knowledge to our readers. (On her Facebook post, Young even writes that the story included the phrase “according to a news release.”)
Still, echoing the comments on the Romenesko post: as bloogers, we know that it’s a challenge to rephrase the entirety of a release — and as PRs we know that the act of seeing a key phrase reprinted by a reporter brings us some sense of satisfaction. The only possible explanation for this particularly glaring error is that the writer of the email in question works in marketing and does NOT specialize in media relations.
Now we want to read the story, but Young wisely refrained from posting a link. Also: we love Romenesko. We will gladly accept our punishment any time his readers give us a beatdown in the comments.