Supporting your client above all
I hope to be in Guinea-Bissau, on West Africa’s coast, when you read this, having written it before the trip. But I may yet be in London…
Such uncertainty is all thanks to Omicron. If I cancel, it won’t be for fear of catching Covid-19, but rather of having to pay £2,285 to quarantine for a week. That would be ruinous given my meagre earnings. (Not to mention boring: there are only so many River Monsters episodes I can re-watch.) So here I am, anxiously rubbing my crystal ball and trying to guess whether Guinea Bissau or Portugal – through which I transit – might be red-listed imminently.
One take-away has been the reactions of the PR leading the trip and the editor who commissioned me. In both cases, I’ve kept them updated with my thoughts on the situation, and the chance I will have to bail. While my supportive editor understands the situation, the PR is being very forceful about the fact that I should travel, saying that I have nothing to worry about…
Originally, I felt a little miffed at this. I appreciated that her client would be really disappointed if one/some journalists from the trip pulled out, plus perhaps financially hamstrung, so it was decidedly in her interest to be slightly pushy on their behalf. You could see it as an obligation. On the flip side, however, it’s also in her interest to befriend and build good relationships with journalists.
So was the way she reacted inappropriate? Ultimately, no. In hindsight, she’s hardly forcing me to travel (nothing close) and – in the absence of a black-and-white decision – I have to expect her to vote for my going ahead. Her duty is chiefly to her client and quite rightly: it’s they who pay her bills, not me. She could have been a little more sympathetic in her response to me, but I think the overall tack of zealously championing the trip was wholly appropriate and commendable.
This whole episode has also stressed to me how difficult Covid-19 continues to be for the travel industry on so many levels, right down to the press-trip one. Say it aloud with me: ugh!
Did Richard make it? Check here….
What Richard Thinks…
“Whether this was really written by him (or he was interviewed), this African Parks press release in the voice of park manager Ladis represents an inventive tack. Its subject matter is incredible, too: an astounding translocation of rhinoceros to Rwanda.”