Sunday, 12 April 2009

PR Disaster

I'm struggling with a problem about a piece I am supposed to be setting up in a country which had better remain nameless.

It's quite a big story and has been commissioned and scheduled, but the tourist board has seriously bungled the arrangements. Bungled to the point where it looks as if I may have to consider telling the editor I can't do the story.

I won't, of course - I have some other options up my sleeve - but the moral is, if you want to be a travel writer, find out how the travel biz works. That way you have a chance to rescue the situation if the PR is incompetent.

I hasten to add that 99 percent of the time, PRs and tourist board people are brilliant.


  1. The question which this post raises, in my mind at least, is whether you'll mention anything about their bungling of your arrangements in your piece.

    I tend (rightly or wrongly!) to be of the opinion that travel writers shouldn't allow themselves to be swayed by freebies into writing 'more positive' articles. I'm now wondering if the reverse is also true.

    P.S. My thoughts are all from a fairly academic perspective, because I take the trips I want to take (at my own expense - I'd travel anyway) and then write whatever articles seem to follow.

  2. My aim is always to offer the reader something useful. So I won't comment on the behaviour of the PR since the reader does not need to know it.

    I'm trying to find a way around the situation and I hope I will.

    Regarding freebies, if a hotel or organisation is awful, I usually omit it from the article. I am aware that readers may waste their hard earned cash otherwise.

    On the rare occasions when an awful place can't be omitted, I tell the editor that I can not write the article. In those cases so far, the editor has always understood, scrapped the piece and given me the chance to write another story. After all they don't want to be promoting rubbish, either.

    In general, I try not to heap criticism publicly upon anyone. How do I know what is going on in this PR's life? Perhaps she is suffering some personal tragedy or trauma and simply cannot do her job as well as usual.

  3. In any job you need to find out how things work in order to do the job properly!


Blog Archive