That Were The Week That Were: March 13, 2011

Welcome to my weekly round up of some of the things I’ve found interesting or entertaining while aimlessly flitting about on the web during the past seven days.

This week’s highlights include a look at the ongoing battle between journalists and the PR world, thoughts on the future of statistics in professional sport, some shock news following Arsenal’s elimination from the Champions League and a mother’s reaction on finding out her son is being stalked.

So, without delaying for a second longer, here…we…go…

Links of the week:

First up this week are a couple of blog posts from the guys at Clever PR, a great blog providing tips, tricks and advice for people working in the communications business. The pieces, listing the things PR people do to annoy journalists and the habits of journalists that wind up PR people, certainly sparked a reaction in our newsroom, with some nodding in agreement and others railing against the unfair slurs against the journalistic world.

Obviously I’m biased in this debate, and I could probably write several hundred words on the content of these two posts, but I want to take this opportunity to make one point about these light-hearted lists.

It appears to me that while many of the things that PR people do to piss off hacks are actually examples of being pretty rubbish at your job, a number of the things that annoy PR people are really just aspects of journalism they dislike because they leave them with no control over what is published.

A PR who sends out non-stories, anonymous case studies and stories that do not involve the particular newspaper’s patch is simply failing to do their job properly and should not be surprised when nothing ends up in print. But a journalist who uses terminology that goes against an organisation’s ethos, puts a different spin on a press release or tries to contact someone within an organisation directly? Well I’m afraid, whether PR people like it or not, they’re just doing their job.

Oh, and while we’re at it, how is it possible for press officers to be annoyed both when a journalist doesn’t ask for a comment before running a story AND when they ring up asking for a comment on a rumour they heard? Do make up your minds.

Anyway, having let my blood pressure return to a slightly more comfortable level, let’s move on to this piece on the increasing role of stats in sport by Sean Gregory. I’m currently reading the excellent Moneyball by Michael Lewis, which tells the story of how Oakland A’s general manager Bill Beane used some seriously unconventional statistical insights to bring success to the Coliseum, so this article was obviously of interest. On this side of the pond it’ll be interesting to see if the NESV takeover of Liverpool helps to bring a more scientific approach to statistics into the football world.

I had to throw this into the mix this week, but I’ll let the sheer beauty of Torrey Mitchell’s goal do the talking for me.

Tweet of the week:

Earlier this week I managed to convince all four reporters on the Folkestone Herald to sign up for Twitter and see who can get the most followers in a month. As something of a Twitter addict I think it’s great they have all got involved, but it seems reporter Mike Sims’ mother may have a slightly different point of view:

And finally:

According to a few of my friends this week there’s now only one team in North London. And according to the ever-brilliant Daily Mash it also appears there’s only one set of fans as well. Just when you thought Arsenal home games couldn’t get any quieter…


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