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Why ‘exclusive’ is a dirty word

For those of you who aren’t aware, there has been a bit of a debate this week between PRs and journalists which has highlighted what can go wrong when offering a journalist an exclusive.

I have had difficult experiences with exclusives on both the journalist and PR side. In my role as a researcher on Australia’s leading current affairs program I spent countless hours setting up a story around the opening of Fox Studios in Sydney. I was promised that my program would be given the exclusive and therefore we went to a lot of effort to create an amazing story. We arranged for a group of children from the Starlight Foundation to be the very first people to experience Fox Studios and all it had to offer (which was a lot more than it offers now as the production side of the venue was in full swing.) All went well with the filming, the story was set to run for a particular night the following week and we had even promoted the exclusive segment. Much to my horror the competing current affairs program ran a story launching Fox Studios the evening before ours was going to air. I felt betrayed, confused and angry, (my boss was just plain angry) and it made me very, very wary of getting involved with exclusive arrangements in the future.

On the PR side WordStorm was hired by a successful American company to create publicity for its director and visit to Australia in January. As it was as high profile company, business journalists were very keen to interview the gentleman. One newspaper journalist requested an exclusive interview therefore we arranged for the director to contact the journalist from his airplane so that they could put the story to print before the other journalists interviewed him. At the last minute the journalist cancelled the interview and the exclusive which was extremely embarrassing for us and, as we had scheduled all the other interviews around their needs, rather inconvenient.

Because of my experiences I have a clear view about exclusives – things can and will go wrong, so accept or offer them knowing the risks and hope that both sides keep their word. Occasionally things happen that are out of the control of the individuals which is just bad luck on everyone’s side.

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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