• Find Out if You are a Flack

    by  • December 2, 2011 • On News Media and Media Relations

    A well known derogatory term for a public relations professional who works in media relations is “flack.” There is no precise definition of the term so we were pleased when Philadelphia Magazine ran a survey in a story headlined “Am I a Flack?” If you answer yes to at least four of the questions, according to the magazine, you are a flack.

    1. Have I sent an invitation which, when opened, spilled confetti onto a writer’s lap?
    2. Have I not updated my mailing lists in more than decade?
    3. Have I pitched a story to a magazine I haven’t read or a television program I haven’t seen?
    4. Have I, in the past year, sent out photos of people shaking hands and receiving awards? Did I send them out to publications that never print photos of people shaking hands or receiving awards? Did I know that these photos are known as “grip and grins,” and that the cheerful CEO could well end up mounted on cardboard and used as an ornament on next year’s office Christmas tree?
    5. Have I tried to sit in on an interview between a journalist and a client, claiming that I want to be on hand to supply important background information?
    6. Have I sent anything by fax that wasn’t specifically requested to be sent by fax?
    7. Have I sent a thank-you note or gift to a reporter who wrote positively about my client?
    8. Have I shaken hands with a member of the press and handed him or her a business card all in the same motion?
    9. Have I used the words, “My client is an advertiser” when making a pitch?
    10. Have I sent a multipage press release and not used both sides of the paper? Have I sent a press kit when a release would do? Do I not care if there are any trees left for my children’s children?