PR COG'S GEAR GRINDINGS

January 22, 2009

Dear Client…Let’s review what deadline means and what it means to you

Filed under: deadlines,journalists,reporter — prcog @ 7:17 pm

Dear Client —

Ok, let’s review what deadline means and what it actually means to you.

Yes, technically a deadline is “the time by which something must be finished or submitted; the latest time for finishing something” (dictionary.com) and so you’d think a deadline for an interview is the time by when it must be completed.

That would be true.

It’s also true that it may be completed earlier.

Journalists do not have due dates (like in school) where it’s all the same if an article is turned in on Wednesday or Friday. For them there IS a difference between finishing close to the deadline and finishing days before the deadline.

The most notable difference is time, which allows for more reporting or writing and/or free time (depending on if they’re full-time or freelancers and how ambitious they are).

That doesn’t even take into account being the first to break a story or provide profound information for a developing story.

If…scratch that…when we land you an interview and offer time slots do not automatically go for the last one because you feel like it. If you wait 2 (not unlikely) things can happen:

1) It’s completely possible Life will happen to you or to the journalist (kid breaks arm, emergency root canal, power goes out, building evacuations) and then you’re stuck because the journo’s deadline probably isn’t extended because of Life. The story, shorter than originally intended has run and you’ve now been edged out because you couldn’t take 15 minutes on Tuesday and decided to wait until Friday.

or

2) The journalist has been interviewing tens of other people for the article and it’s mostly written meaning your “authoritative” comments (which are the same as everyone else’s in the industry) will be 4th fiddle, shoved somewhere in the middle of a story, if they even make it in at all.

When the page is blank it’s easiest to get ink. Once the work’s been done you’ve gotta have something real special to make the reporter do a significant rewrite.

So, the Fortune Cookie lesson is – take the interview as early as you can without breaking the laws of physics, it costs you nothing but significantly ups your odds of getting ink.

–Your ever-humble PR Cog
www.twitter.com/prcog

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