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Why giving a gift to a journalist is just that. A gift.

There has been a bit of a debate going on of late about the appropriateness of PRs sending gifts to journalists in order to get on their ‘good side’ or to convince them to run a story.

In my opinion there is nothing wrong with sending gifts to journalists as long as it is just that – a gift.  As my fellow WordStormer Kimberly Lee responded in the Mumbrella debate, a genuine gift is one that is given without expectations of receiving anything back.

For example the editor of a certain business magazine had a birthday last week and we sent her a bunch of flowers. We did not do this to suck up, get noticed or as bribery to publish our clients’ stories. As we are business associates, we simply knew it was her birthday and wanted to recognise the occasion with flowers.

Obviously if you want a journalist to review or write about a product it makes sense to send them the product or offer the service so that they can sample it for themselves. I do not view this as sending gifts as bribery but rather letting them experience the product or service for themselves so that they have a sound base to write about it.

If you are going to send product of any kind to a journalist in my experience it is best to ‘dress it up’ in a creative concept so that it makes impact when it lands on their desk.

For instance when I was working as a researcher at A Current Affair we received a press release about an online supermarket in a miniature shopping trolley.  It was cute and quirky and this little trolley really got our attention – or mine anyway! Needless to say the online business enjoyed a good five minutes of prime time airtime and reaped the reward for months to follow.

In summary I think that everyone including journalists loves receiving presents.  If you’d like to touch another human being with a kind gesture then send away, otherwise save your money and just pitch a relevant angle to the correct person within the publication or production and enjoy a great result.

What do you think?

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Monica Rosenfeld

Monica Rosenfeld

After an extensive career in TV journalism including Channel 9’s Getaway and A Current Affair, Monica Rosenfeld established WordStorm PR in 2000. Monica’s experience at Channel 9 was invaluable as it allowed her to set up a PR agency that clearly understood the day-to-day workings of a busy media office. WordStorm PR represents a range of consumer, lifestyle, food, health, hospitality and B2B clients. With her extensive experience in public relations, Monica’s blog will focus on helping business owners to effectively communicate to the media and consumers to get their brand noticed.

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