In some sectors, the relationship between journalist and PR is a game of cat and mouse. The journalist is trying to winkle out a story, he or she goes to a company in question to ask awkward questions and it falls to the PR to man the barricades and stonewall them with an anodyne response.
It’s the “we’re not talking to you but we’re not ignoring you either” brush-off.
Great. I can see why both sides play the game.
Food writing is different. Our interviews are more like cosy fireside chats than hard-hitting investigations. We’re not trying to catch anyone out. We just want to add a bit of colour to what we are writing.
And you know what robs a feature of colour? An emailed quote. No one speaks the way they write and it always shows. The “quote” becomes a press release, full of leaden phrases like “the sector is under continuing financial pressure, but we continue to strive to bring value-added benefits to our customers.
Result? Simple. We don’t include you in the piece.
I know people are busy, but surely it’s better to give five minutes on the phone rather than all the hours it must take to provide a sanitised “quote” that has been approved by 50 different departments.
Sometimes it really is good to talk.