PR Parables: PR community shares media hacks, real life stories of raising harassment issues

We changed the course of PR Parables, with the sole objective of creating a unique one stop shop to learn from our collective PR experiences.  

One of our PR colleagues has used this platform to raise the very sensitive issue of harassment at the workplace. We hope to have a greater debate on that in coming editions of #PRParables.

A big shout out to the three participants who sent in their stories. 

And a big thank you to Deepa Jayaraman, COO, Hill + Knowlton Strategies India for offering two copies of her co-authored book, “Whale of a Time with Social Media .”

Jayaram picked the answers of One Source’s Srishty Chawla and *Anita Verma (name changed) as the winning entries.

Congratulations and your signed copies are on their way!

Let’s dive in to the answers itself!

Media Hacks

In this first edition of shared PR Parables, we invited stories on "reaching out to journalists through social media platforms.”

Pratishtha Kaura, associate account manager, Text 100
“Learn about the whereabouts and interests of journalists from their Twitter accounts. This has worked for me many times to create a relevant pitch.

I was once looking to pitch a journalist but didn't know what will work for him. And he had been unresponsive. I came to know from Twitter that he was traveling and looking at his tweets and pitched him a story idea that worked as well.”

Moushumi’s Take : “Kudos to Pratishtha Kaura from Text 100 for her smart move, she watched the fact that the journalist she reached out wasn't active on mail but on Twitter he was. She caught his attention through her tweet and he responded. It was a happy ending.”

Srishty Chawla, One Source
“Three and a half years into the industry, I've been lammed by several journalists for calling them. I would not be lying when I say that has been severely demotivating, to the extent that I have thought about quitting PR altogether.

I'd like to share an anecdote where social media reinstilled my faith in the industry and motivated me to keep going.

While preparing a media brief for a client, I was frantically looking for the profile of Mr. P. R. Sanjai, erstwhile corporate editor at Mint, now with Bloomberg News. I must have gone through a zillion URLs on the web to find the same, but unfortunately the only information I had was the two publications I've mentioned.

In a serious quandary, I posted my query on One Source, an industry forum I admin, specifically using the term 'Life Saver'. Imagine my shock, when I saw a mail sitting in my personal inbox a couple of minutes later, from the gent himself, subject titled 'Life Saver'. For about five minutes, I kept refreshing my inbox, thinking I was seeing things. In the next five minutes, I went from being overwhelmed, to giddy, to almost crying (call me dramatic if you will!), because a very senior journalist had gone out of his way to help me.

To date, this incident sticks with me, and has taught me several things, but most among all, has taught me to keep going, no matter what. Journalists are human beings, and they have their good and bad days too. This has taught me to always check for their time before I start my spiel. It has taught me that my profession, no matter how much I may crib, is perhaps the one profession that teaches you more about life than anything or anybody else can.”

 Moushumi’s Take:  Srishty Chawla, I am glad you continued to stay on and add more power to the communications industry.  Yes we have and will have our moments of facing a cold and a curt response to phone calls, but then as you rightly point out,  the knight in shining armour heroes are also around. " Life saver" he was . Thank you Sanjai and may your tribe increase. I learnt about One Source from your story, others will pick their own lessons. 

 * Anita Verma ( name changed)
“My experience of using social media was very personal and it strengthened my faith and relationship with the media. A few years ago, a journalist from HT Cafe, Mumbai was doing story on sexual harassment. My tweet to the reporter about her story and her response  gave me a platform to speak about my experiences with sexual harassment at the hands of both a team lead and the co-founder of a PR firm. The experience of sharing letting me come to terms with what happened. Today, I work on independent PR projects and do not wish to join a PR agency again, at least not a small one.

Moushumi’s Take: This is a very distressing incident and I applaud *Anita for her bravery in taking her story to a journalist. I hope that sharing this will help others to fight on. With women dominating the PR business in India, there is an opportunity here to create a truly inclusive, harassment free environment for women in PR in India.

These three stories have packed in a lot, I love the vibrancy, the stark honesty and the easy to emulate lessons. Keep them coming in and lets build a collaborative resource compiled from experience. Yours. Which becomes Ours. You can also tell us what topics do you think need to be included, given that we are the custodians of communications, this one should be easy, think of everyday life at work and come up with issues and challenges where most of us would perhaps have many interesting anecdotes. Send yours. 

Stay tuned for the next one, the topic is 'Rookie PR mistakes no one warned me about'. And don't forget to participate . Because PR Parables is all about sharing and learning. It is also about PR & Able to = Parables

Moushumi Dutt is a senior corporate communications consultant

Please mail with your responses to the topic ' Rookie PR mistakes no one warned me about'.

* Some names in the story have been changed to protect their identity.

If you enjoyed this article, you can subscribe for free to our weekly event and subscriber alerts.