Being an editor means dealing with a lot of press releases. For those of you who don't speak newspaper-ese, a press release is what people send the newsroom when they want us to write a story about them, or more often, the company they do public relations for. Most PR people are perpetually perky little things, so sometimes it gets a little tiresome wading through all the honey. I always want to send a back a fitting reply that looks something like this:
"OMIGOSH!!! That is SO EXCITING!!! :) I am SO GLAD that you put so many awesome, tremendous, exciting adjectives in CAPITAL LETTERS with EXCLAMATION POINTS so I could appreciate your news!!! :) :) :)"
What they don't realize is that everyone else puts their email subject lines in all caps too, starting with the word IMPORTANT!!! I would probably be more likely to notice it if it was in tiny letters that said "Please don't read this." Actually, I guarantee the journalist in me would be tripping over myself to scour the entire thing.
They also try to throw in buzz words they think will pique my interest. The story could be about a new hamburger joint in town and still be peppered with phrases like "environmentally friendly," "political impact," "human interest," and "international charity." I'm a reporter, for crying out loud. Don't they know I get much more excited about phrases like "major disaster," and "political career crashing and burning?"
Often I wonder how these people think their news constitutes an article. Do they really think I get their email and think "Oh wow, I do have these stories about the Haiti earthquake and State of the Union address and terrorist attacks in Jordan, but I will definitely save some space in the paper for the announcement that the Malte Shoppe has a new flavor of milkshake. I just don't know what we would have put on the front page otherwise."
Recent press releases I have gotten include:
1) The announcement that the "immensely popular restaurant chain Smashburger" is opening a new restuarant in the neighboring town
2) The restaurant Magelby's is now open two hours later.
3) Someone not connected to the university in any way discovered a new species of fossilized rodent.
4) The Utah Farm Bureau has declared this week "State Food Checkout Week." (whatever that means)
5) A Senate candidate posted a new Youtube video.
And many, many more.
I think some people are trying to cleverly avoid paying for advertising. Like they think I'll look at an article that says "Come to your local Toyota dealers and check out the following deals:" and accept it as legitimate journalism.
I'm on to you, people. Oh sorry, I mean I am SO FABULOUSLY onto you!!! Charity!!! Woohoo!!!