• UNCONVENTIONAL WISDOM:

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

MORE and MORE

The misses just keep on coming:

* While I interviewed a NASCAR driver recently, his PR person watched from a distance, but continued on with lunch, never once coming over for an introduction or to ask if any background information was needed or to exchange business cards. If I hadn't asked the driver if that was his PRer, and then gone over and introduced myself, I'm certain this "media relations" rep would have left without ever speaking a word to me. (!)

* At this same gathering, I sat near the person who is paid (in part) to field requests from local media for a local motoring business. This person didn't know I have been writing the Friday racing notebook for the Arizona Republic since last October. Didn't know the writer who previously had racing in his portfolio has been covering hockey all season. Let me repeat: This person lives here and the employer in a local company. (!)

* One might bet his/her professional Life that it would be a Lock a local company would be pro-active in trying to get local coverage when it sponsors a car in the local big race. One would be wrong, as proven here in the Valley just last week. I'm still waiting for a call, E-mail, or copy of the news release . . .

* In advance of the NASCAR weekend at Phoenix International Raceway, my friend Mark Armijo sent questionaires to PR people representing 40 drivers. He got 12 responses.

Brian France says NASCAR is an under-covered sport. That might well be true. If the NASCAR chairman really wants to know why, he should ponder the above. And I can provide countless other examples . . . (I can't wait to see how many Cup team/sponsor reps actually bother themselves to make the rounds in the media center this weekend at PIR.)

Yes, I blame the team owners and sponsor managers who hire such people. But, increasingly, I'm going to point to NASCAR. In theory, I understand why a Jody Powell, press secretary in the failed Jimmy Carter presidency, would be brought in as a guest speaker at the PR Summit. Now, though, the NEED is for some "straight talk" speakers willing to lay the issues square on the table. Obviously, if sadly, basics need to be taught.

A good beginning would be understanding good PR starts with establishing good, professional one-on-one relationships with journalists.
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Sign of the (Economic) Times: Target is out as sponsor of Tiger Woods' charity golf tournament. Who is in? Chevron. Tells you where the money is these days.

A young PR person asked me not too long ago what I meant by an "overwritten" news release. Here's an example. (The first sentence alone is about 50 words! Way too-long overall. Way too much overblown, breathless hype.):
http://www.nascar.com/2008/news/headlines/cup/04/04/tstewart.prelude.dream/index.html

Considering the state of the American newspaper industry, this site was inevitable:
http://angryjournalist.com/
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In this Thursday's Republic, I'll have a long feature on the "new" Dale Earnhardt Jr. I think you might find some of his quotes interesting from an fan-relationship standpoint. Here are links to today's Republic story on Kasey Kahne, and last Friday's notebook, leading with Casey Mears:
http://www.azcentral.com/sports/speed/articles/2008/04/07/20080407nascar.html

http://www.azcentral.com/sports/speed/articles/2008/04/03/20080403racingnb0404.html

[ next Tuesday, on the eve of the failed CART/Champ Car sports-business-management experiment fading into history, I'll tell you things I'll bet you didn't know happened in the organization's history . . . ]