Over the years, I have had all sorts of mad ideas pitched at me as sensible bases for stories.
But some recur and recur and … you get the idea.
I think it is time to start listing the ones that just will not work, and why.
So here goes:
- We’ve got a survey that says something terrifically interesting about how dangerous the world is or how funny people are.
Pfah! Everyone has a survey. No-one ever discloses the forensic details that let the media really dissect it. That’s because it was probably re-purposed market research. You can see my attitude to surveys in stories like this one.
- It’s easier to use
What? Your client is trying to improve its product? Does that mean everyone else in the industry has stopped trying to do that? By golly that ease of use needs to have rocketed into some new and hitherto unreachable dimension for ease of use to be the basis for a story. Think iPhone vs. normal phones.
- Our product has won an award from ‘Publication X’
Unless I work for ‘Publication X’, why the hell should I care or tell my readers that one of my competitors likes you?
- Our product is now in version 8.2
A point upgrade? Didn’t you know I have a weak heart and the move from version 8.1 to 8.2 could cause a cardiac arrest …. NOT! A point upgrade is more likely to induce narcolepsy. Why? Come on, if you are only calling it a point release, why should readers get excited about it?
- The announcement at the event tomorrow is terribly significant but we cannot tell you why so you’ll just have to come along
The more secretive a company is about the content of an event, the more cynical about it I become. That’s because I often find that events that cannot tell you what is on offer actually have very little on offer. This year, for example, a big event turned out to be the Australian launch of products that had already been launched (and bombed) elsewhere. Most of the press who attended wrote about a cute robot that was also on show. Secretive events also make it hard to prepare with proper questions and research, which is important for folks like me who do not report on things but write more analytically about them later.
More of these to come as they enter my brain.