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Value the fruits of free speech

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As a journalist I’m somewhat naturally predisposed to adoring the idea of free speech. I, like most other ‘real’ people, strongly believe free speech is a fundamental pillar of democracy. So it comes as a surprise to me to learn that some of my views have attracted criticism yet the unrestricted feedback, and, from now, an open invitation to contribute ideas, has largely been ignored.

The purpose of my blog is not to berate my friends in the PR community, but to expose the all-to-often unprofessional practices of some “consultants” with the anticipation that such communication will be avoided for the benefit of all. As such, I welcome not only feedback to my media relations advice but also written contributions from communications professionals.

Here’s an example of how my expressions of free speech struck a chord with at least one other Journalist. Formerly of IDG and Computerworld New Zealand, MIS New Zealand’s deputy editor Darren Greenwood, sent me an e-mail the other week with some welcome feedback. The message is reproduced below, with Darren’s permission of course…

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From: Darren Greenwood
Subject: Good blog

Hi Rodney,

Heard about your blog.

I agree with much if not all what you say about PR people and IT managers.
This week, I have had issues with corporate PR/marketing departments wanting to see copy before it is printed. I don’t mind them correcting errors/mistakes, but all too often they just want to censor stuff, remove anything remotely embarrassing and make the piece so positive, it loses credibility.
I do not let them change copy for marketing/PR reasons.

Hope you are well.

And give my regards to everyone at IDG.

All the best,

Darren
————

In a reply Darren expressed further praise…

Your comments on why IT managers should learn to love the media were excellent… I think many PR people should read it too.

I first met Darren five years ago when he was in Sydney reporting on IT at the Olympics for Computerworld New Zealand. It’s good to know at least someone agrees with me, thanks Darren!

From a PR perspective I’ve also had much positive feedback. Here are some quotes. Naturally, complete anonymity was requested…

“That stuff about the PRs is funny. Please send the XML feed. I know there are some idiots out there.”

“I read the ‘off on the wrong foot’ piece, very funny! It’s not about me is it?”

“How’s it going? thought I’d drop you a line to say hi – just bin reading your blog stuff – heh, heh – interesting reading… hope I don’t ever come under your PR spotlight!”

So there you have it. My PR friends in the industry know and love me better than to jump to false conclusions. And if you do find yourself on the receiving end of an anonymous analysis, take it all in good humour. Furthermore, if you are a PR and would like to write something for gedda.info on how stupid and lazy journalists are, the floor is yours.

Only a fool would jump to conclusions about my writings without realising the greater benefit the messages – born from a desire for free speech – provide.

Rodney

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