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Correct me if I’m wrong?

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Here’s a scenario every PR hates: coverage comes out for your client, whoop, terrific, except, ugh, there’s a detail wrong and said client wants you to get it corrected wherever possible (i.e. online).

 

Doing so means you have to ask the journalist, and risk being pesky – risk undermining what had just become a productive relationship. (Because, let’s be honest: this is exactly the sort of situation in which those odious, ignorant sorts of journalists will bemoan “these bloody PRs”, or even publish a crass Twitter post on the subject.) Or you could do nothing at all, but that risks the wrath of a client, and it’s they who butter your bread.

 

Requests to journalists for post-publication changes tend to be met by one of the following: silence, a terse reply or an airy promise to “try” which leads precisely nowhere. From having worked on travel desks, I know that there are mitigating circumstances for such resistance. Firstly, everyone on those desks is bonkers-busy, and making these changes always feels like a backwards step. Secondly, effecting one might be a faff: at one paper, it involved getting sign-off, painstakingly tracking down the right digital-team member and determining whether an official correction was needed. Far easier not to bother at all.

 

So, what to do? In my opinion, it’s a classic case of choosing your battles. Unless the error is crucial – a misdirected URL; a wrongly-credited company – then consider if you and the client could actually live with it? Rather than risking a reputation for moaning or nit-picking, this is almost always the best idea. If your client is pretty miffed, could you give them the same airy promise to “try” (and sympathise with them that the world really is going to pot), but do nowt? If they’re absolutely incensed, then pursue the change while, at least, making clear to the journalist that a) you know this is ultra-annoying and b) your arm is being forced.

“An “urban sun” contraption that cleanses public spaces of coronavirus? It could only be Rotterdam, and a press release from the terrific Kim Heinen!”

 

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