Ann Friedman of New York Translates a Terrible Pitch

This is a must-read for media relations

Back in July, columnist Ann Friedman of New York magazine wrote a piece defending the archetypal “PR girl” titled “Why Do We Treat PR Like a Pink Ghetto?”

She bemoaned the state of media relations as a boys vs. girls game and wrote that the work done by even entry-level press specialists is “important and valuable…not to mention quite challenging.”

What we’re saying is that she’s more sympathetic to the daily struggles of the PR pro than many. At the same time, like any journalist, Friedman gets lots of lame pitches. On her tumblr this week, she translated a particularly glaring example; the post is a brutal but necessary read for anyone in this line of work.

We won’t rehash her amusing “translation”; instead, let’s go over the many reasons why this pitch was bad. For context, it’s from a company called Listicle which seems to be a sort of social network/aggregator of user-generated “viral” lists.

  1. Ann Friedman is a professional journalist for a major magazine.
  2. She has never, to our knowledge, written a list.
  3. It’s obvious from a quick review of the client’s site that it’s an open forum for contributors; journalistic qualifications are not required (see point #1).
  4. It’s also obvious that the contributors to this site either don’t get paid at all or get paid very little (again, see point #1).
  5. The pitch begins with the line “I loved reading your post” but doesn’t include any links, specifics, or even a hint of personalization.
  6. Once again, Ann Friedman is an established writer for a major magazine who publishes full-length essays on feminism, business, etc. and gets paid well to do it.

We could go on, but just read the post and consider what Friedman calls a “request to fuck yourself over” as a prime example of what NOT to do.