News UK master class in how not to do media relations

News UK spam news releaseIt’s been a while since I’ve had a good rant, but when a company that you love to hate does something incompetent it’s just too good an opportunity to miss.

It’s 2013 so surely all but the most Neanderthal of PR people have grasped that you never, ever spam journalists or bloggers with badly targeted news releases. If you do happen to be a bit slow on the uptake then helpfully the Chartered Institute of Public Relations, the Public Relations Consultants Association, the Investor Relations Society and the National Union of Journalists have produced the Media Spamming Charter.

Unfortunately, it seems to have escaped the attention of the PR team at News UK. Maybe they’ve had other things on their mind, like a little re-branding to help obscure their past.

It wouldn’t have taken much research to discover that although I write about media on my blog, I’m not exactly a fan of either football, The Sun or Rupert Murdoch’s business practices. So I’m probably not the best person to spam with a news release about The Sun and football!

If the spamming wasn’t bad enough the execution was woefully inadequate. I’d defy anyone, anywhere to point me to a best practice guide that says adding a PDF attachment to your spam is the right thing to do.

And if I was interested in this news I haven’t really been given anything I can use to make it into a story.

Where are the pictures, graphics or videos I can use to illustrate my story?

Any chance that I could have a link to the app it talks about?

Maybe I can have a quick look behind the pay wall so I can write a proper review?

That would be a no to all of those.

But actually it’s all fine as News UK doesn’t really want me to use its news release as the email includes a legal disclaimer saying:

This e-mail and any attachments are confidential, may be legally privileged and are the property of News Corp UK & Ireland Limited on whose systems they were generated

So me not being a lawyer I can only make the interpretation that as it’s confidential I’m now allowed to publish it!

I did wonder if before I published this I should make a quick call to whoever spammed me, but unfortunately News UK doesn’t think you should include contact name details on a news release.

 

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About Stuart Bruce

International communications consultant and PR trainer specialising in online public affairs, digital corporate communications, online PR and social media; frequent national media commentator and conference speaker.

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