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02/23/01 (Page Two)


Another thing that happened this week was that I got an award from the local Public Relations association.

This is kind of a strange thing. It's a little like a Congressman getting an award from a bunch of lobbyists.

Plus, reporters and PR people often have very strained relationships. A lot of reporters don't like PR people and a lot of PR people wonder what they ever did to piss reporters off so badly. And since some reporters are famously curmudgeons and some PR people are like big, well-dressed Pikachus on caffeine, conflict will just naturally arise. Of course, that's just the stereotype.

I have some really good friends who are PR people, much to the chagrin of some of my hard-core reporter friends. Because I write for a personal tech section, the rules are a little different than for, say, a city hall reporter.

Things a city hall reporter can accept as a gift from sources:

A cup of water

Some crackers (soggy, unsalted)

A scrap of paper to take notes on

A Christmas card where the signature has obviously been stamped on

Things a personal tech reporter can accept as a gift (for review purposes only, of course) from sources:


Lots of video games

Digital cameras

Trips to Las Vegas

Vast sums of money and narcotics in anonymous envelopes

Ha ha! That's a total joke. (No, not really, but I have to have a disclaimer if I ever get fired or taken to court.)

So you can see why I was a little hesitant about this award. It was for "Print Reporter of the Year," which I didn't even know I was eligible for because I haven't really done much reporting in the last year.

I sent the congratulations message to two of my bosses, and one of them responded that it was kind of a back-handed compliment, but that an award's an award and I should be gracious and go accept it.

So I did. And the ceremony was very nice. They had a fancy dinner, a big dessert, coffee, all that. I got up there and I made a little joke about writing a press release for my award and it got a laugh, and then I sat down and watched a bunch of other people get awards.

Afterward, as expected, a bunch of people came over, business cards in hands, to chat. Which is actually my favorite part of the whole thing.

It's mine! All mine! Hands off, sucka city hall reporters!

I don't know, I just like PR people. Reporters aren't suppposed to because it opens you up to charges that you might be biased or that you're lazy because you can't just find information yourself.

A man who won a lifetime achievement award at the PR ceremony said that young people in the business (his business, not mine) are entering a "golden age of PR." Damn, did that just send shivers down your spine? Most reporters would choke up their black coffee at the thought of that. More layers to go through to talk to sources. More mountains of press releases to throw in the recycling bin. More schmoozing.

I guess I've just been really lucky. I've met really nice PR people who typically are just trying to do their job. They aren't that pushy and they know not to push dumb ideas and expect me to run with them. That's the ones I know. I do still get lots of random phone calls and e-mails from PR people who have no idea what I do or how they shoud pitch a story. That's okay. I'm usually polite on the phone and I'm quick with the DELETE command in e-mail.

The thing is, they have a job to do and some are better than others, just like reporters, and if you're lucky enough to find a not-pushy PR person who actually helps you do your job, you should just be thankful is all I'm sayin'.

And sometimes they just give out awards for the Hell of it. They like giving out awards. Plus lots of PR ladies are damned cute.

Sorry. I didn't just say that.



No Third Watch recap this week, unfortunately. Instead, I've been doing lots of work stuff, catching up, and also trying to find time to work some more on LCP skits.

Oh, do me a favor and check this out. Damn, that's amazingly funny. It's like the worst fluff celebrity profile ever. Start the article by listing the two worst traits of the person you're profiling and elaborate on them. I bet this poor woman (who is very attractive, but the article makes it sound like that's a bad thing) went and cried when she read this. Oh and she doesn't start street fights with her co-stars? Good to know.

Have a great weekend, folks. I'll see you on Monday. If the dirt mounds don't get me first.


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