Murphy's Law

Tom Murphy

Archive for May 2003

Never doubt the entrepreneurial spirit…

Written by Tom Murphy

May 28, 2003 at 8:16 am

Posted in General

Blogumentary… Getting results for PR… More on BlairJ…

Written by Tom Murphy

May 27, 2003 at 5:47 pm

Posted in General

Writing for the web.. Jayson Blair.. E-mail and the underload..

  1. Don’t respond to a pitch unless you have the perfect match.
  2. Do keep your pitches very short and to the point.
  3. Don’t attach files.
  4. Don’t pitch someone if they are not available to be interviewed.

Written by Tom Murphy

May 26, 2003 at 10:36 am

Posted in General

Next slide… next slide… next slide…

There is truly nothing worse than death by PowerPoint. When you are on a press or analyst tour with multiple meetings every day, the pain of going through the same slides, with the same quips over and over again is probably the most ingenious form of torture known to mankind.

It doesn’t help that people seem to put more preparation into their slides than their content.  We’ve all been in the presentations where the speaker simply reads each slide word for word. It’s bad communication and worse, the speaker provides no additional information. It would probably be better to just let the slides run automatically without the sound track.

Edward Tufte has an essay on the subject called “The cognitive style of PowerPoint”. It’s available for $7. Anything that helps is to be welcomed! Thanks to my colleague Darren Barefoot for the link!


Written by Tom Murphy

May 26, 2003 at 8:40 am

Posted in General

The dog ate my e-mail….

When e-mail started to become popular in the early to mid-nineteen nineties it was common to hear excuses such as “I never got that e-mail” and in some cases – as there were still glitches in e-mail – it was true.  However, as e-mail has become ubiquitous it’s not really an acceptable excuse anymore.

Over the past couple of months a new e-mail related excuse has begun to become popular.  “Your e-mail was stuck in my spam software”. If you’re working in PR, your e-mail address is probably on websites, on posted press releases etc. and as a result you are probably getting hundred of spam messages every day.  Most of us have turned to anti-spam software to solve the problem, but as anyone who uses these products knows, they are far from the finished article.  Indeed they only seem to catch fifty percent of the spam and fifty percent of the e-mail they do catch isn’t spam.

So remember when someone tells you that they never got your e-mail, but they subsequently did find it in their spam folder, you heard it here first!

Of course technical glitches like those experienced by Trend Micro’s anti-spam product (where any e-mail containing the letter ‘P’ is categorized as spam) doesn’t help matters very much. Thanks to Phil Gomes for the link! 

Written by Tom Murphy

May 26, 2003 at 8:27 am

Posted in General

Balance in the media…

Business 2.0 has published a piece on how traditional media outlets such as the Wall Street Journal are adopting some of the practices pioneered by many of the failed dot-com online publishers.

While many of those pioneers are now gone the way of’s sock puppet, some have survived and begun to thrive, most notably Salon and Slate.

There are however some casualties of the downturn that I personally miss.  In particular; Red Herring and the Industry Standard. I am also sad enough to admit I still regularly trawl through the Industry Standard’s online archives reminiscing of a time when we were all upbeat and positive! Now that’s a long time ago.

Written by Tom Murphy

May 23, 2003 at 4:37 pm

Posted in General

It's a crazy mixed up world….

One of the most valuable lessons I have learned in my professional life is recognizing your limits.  We often percieve lack of knowledge for weakness when in fact the ability to recognize when you need external assistance is a strength – and a profitable strength at that.

In that spirit I can honestly say that many walks of the PR profession are a mystery to me.  And none more so that Hollywood.  Celebrity PR’s roles are fundamentally different to anything I have done over the past decade and I can honestly say it holds no interest for me.

Many of you will have read my barrage against an ill-conceived anti-PR article written in the Toronto Star, but today I came across a story by Catherine Seipp for United Press International on her dealings with celebrity PR people.

It’s interesting but as the Smiths once sang “it says nothing to me about my life”!

Some other celebrity PR reading:

PS.. Catherine also has an interesting article on blogging in the American Journalism Review from last June.

Written by Tom Murphy

May 23, 2003 at 4:27 pm

Posted in General