You have a journalist’s phone number in your contacts, and you know they are likely to respond quicker to a text message or WhatsApp, other than an e-mail, but it’s a conundrum. You want an answer, but you don’t want to annoy them or overstep any boundaries. I get it.
As a journalist I know the same is true of celebrities and experts. When I need to get a quick quote, it’s so much easier to message them if I have their number, rather than going via their agents. But when is it okay and when does it cross the line?
For me, and I know this is not the same for every journalist, messages and WhatsApps feel more personal, and sometimes more invasive. They require an immediate response. E-mails are more distant, more formal, more reserved.
Some (perhaps younger) journalists do most of their communicating on WhatsApp. I guess it’s about reading the situation and adapting your approach for each person. But here are my thoughts on when it’s okay to message rather than e-mail. If…
- It’s time sensitive – i.e. changing the venue last minute.
- You genuinely feel like your messages are not getting through
- They are someone that uses WhatsApp and texting for business
- They often initiate messaging
- You are friends
It’s not okay
- If your client is wanting a quick response
- If you are trying to push a story
- If you are three rosés’ down (*jokes).
I know it’s tough. A friend was telling me about a journalist that never responds to any e-mails and they only ever hear from her if she wants something. Which is frustrating and rude in equal measure.
It’s not straightforward, but we can all try our best to be considerate and respectful. And hope that wins the long game.
“Rosie Burn’s release grabs attention with its punchy subject line. Then she keeps you interested with an illustrative (and shocking) picture. Cleverly PR-ing her client, City Dietitian Sophie Medlin, Rosie takes a hot topic and delivers useful comment. It’s detailed but broken down to make it accessible.”