Alarm bells

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Alarm Bells

What should you do when there’s a big story breaking over the weekend? It’s a subject of interest and consternation for PRs and journalists alike…

On Sunday, I was flicking through news websites and came across a story on the beloved restaurateurs Corbin & King filing for insolvency. My shock and dismay were married with the thought that this is a story I should follow up on: my first call was to an industry insider to find out what he’d heard as I know from experience that a) he’s always up and alert and b) he’s very au fait with what’s going on in the restaurant world.

He explained the facts behind the gossip-column story which are less of a marmalade dropper (to use an old hack’s expression) and more of a business strategy procedure. No need to follow up.

But it made me reflect, as I thought about this week’s column, on what we do with our jobs outside office hours. There will always be breaking news over which there is no control and which requires immediate action – such as an acclaimed restaurant catching fire, or an acclaimed chef catching flak for alleged misdoings.

What about something like the C&K story? Should the company’s PR have sent a note out to everyone in their contacts book on a Sunday morning? The chances are, not all lifestyle journalists are checking their inbox on the weekend (in fact, if we were all in France it would be frowned upon) and even those who do might not welcome it. Although as a news junkie I would. 

In fact, proprietor Jeremy King wrote a considered, clearly explained response which was widely and quickly shared but not all clients have the wherewithal to do that. Whether to jump in or wait might lead to difficult conversations for you with your client, though you are the ones who should best know the course of action to take. There will be another story before long, I’m sure, and I’m watching!

What Lisa Thinks…

“Be careful where the invented commas go in a press release… This was explosive in a very different way at first glance!”

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