‘Courtesy of a response expected’

You know I’m swamped if it’s 9:30 p.m. and I’m still working and that I know I’m in for the long haul with editing shitty submissions and rewriting/researching.

That said, I received a press release from some dipshit on Thursday. I read it and filed it into the “maybe” pile for story ideas. I just saw an e-mail come through on the work account from the same idiot (it’s a crappy AOL addy too — it looks like spam). In the subject line was “Courtesy of a response expected.”

Here’s your response:

Dear Fucker,

You wanted a response. Here it is, asshat. I receive thousands of press releases a month. And even though I tell Bacon’s, Burrelle’s, PR Newswire and all of its counterparts that I have four specific topic areas, their clients don’t listen, and of those press releases I receive, only about 10 of them a week are worthy of a second glance. Of those 10, maybe three will ever go into my “to consider” pile. Harassing me to tell you that I wasn’t impressed with your stupid news is NOT a good idea. I have 109 unread/unanswered e-mails in my personal account, which by the way I cannot open because Entourage is being a bitch and won’t let me work online. I do not have the time/energy/mental capacity to respond to people who matter to me, let alone your sorry ass.

I have also sent out hundreds of press releases in my day. Thousands, perhaps. And yes, it is protocol for the person/entity with the news to follow up to ensure that the media outlets have in fact 1) received your release, 2) have an interest in it and 3) might someday want to follow-up with a story or at least a mention in my “headlines” section where I run coherent press releases in which I think my readers might have an interest. For the overworked member of the media with one full-time staff person and two part-time staff persons, the fact that I even read your news is a personal achievement. You should congratulate yourself for getting all of your grammar and facts correct, because I will trash any release that has even a single mistake in the subject field or in the headline (an insight into my weeding-out process, if you will).

Here’s a tip: Ditch the stupid AOL screenname. Then ditch AOL. Buy a fucking domain name and get a website where I can investigate you and make sure you’re not really running a crack house or laundering money.

And here’s another tip: you were the asshole who dragged the word “courtesy” into this. Let the Goddess Dawn give you some lessons on courtesy. Target your news to appropriate news outlets. Mine is one of them, so you’ve done well so far. Then, learn your editor’s production schedule. Sending me a press release when all hell is breaking loose in my professional world is not the wisest idea. I will dutifully skim it and file it, but I will likely FORGET about it unless someone calls and charms the pants off of me. (Sidenote: charming the pants off of me is relatively easy. A compliment, a mention that you hope to be able to work with me … fuck, a couple of bloody marys! … and I will de-pant myself, if I feel the urge.)

Bottom line: develop a relatonship with your friendly neighborhood editors. Particularly those of us who are short-staffed — we may just invite you to write a column or an op-ed piece and work with you on that instead of finding the time to interview you and write our own story (although, let’s face it, we would write it better ourselves, but this is the difference between getting some press and getting no press. Take your pick). I will not pay you for your submission, as it is the volunteer writers who breathe the life into our six regular columns. But you’d get your name “out there” and will drum up interest from people in your field who could help you just as much as I can.

Oh, and here’s a thought — try treating your e-mail like a business call. Meaning, sending it to me at 10 p.m. or during a weekend isn’t going to endear you to me. I am more likely to read it while my ass is parked at the computer for the traditional 9-to-5 timeslot that I am expected to show up and function in the workplace. Yes, I work odd hours (nights/weekends), but I work those hours so that I am not disturbed by phones, faxes, e-mails or pain-in-the-ass colleagues.

In closing, don’t EXPECT anything, you insufferable twit. You’re not the only one making news. And I am a genius at budgeting not only my time, but also my financials (at work, not at home, just to clarify). My magazine costs a bundle to produce, and we don’t have a lot of people producing it; I pride myself on ensuring that our time and our page real estate is expended wisely. And you’ve got a long way to go from being even near the MIDDLE of my priority list.

Fuck you for writing.


The Goddess Dawn

(On behalf of the Veggie Patch Gazette)

On iTunes: Alter Bridge, “Open Your Eyes”

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