Murphy's Law

Tom Murphy

Archive for August 2003

Using PR in the court of public opinion

The author of a new book entitled “In the court of Public Opinions: Winning your case with Public Relations”, believes the reason behind Martha Stewart’s recent poor financial performance was the failure of her attorneys to properly represent her case in a timely manner.

“The whole thing is very penny ante, and they are very difficult charges to prove, but because the prosecutor got the first bite of the apple here and it took a while for Stewart’s lawyers to get her side of the story out, most people think she is guilty,” James Haggerty said.

The quote comes from an interesting story in the Boston Herald.

Written by Tom Murphy

August 12, 2003 at 1:02 pm

Posted in General

Another anti-PR site?

Following in the footsteps of PR Watch, a new self-appointed PR watchdog has been established, this time in the UK. describes itself thus:
“ is a not for profit organisation for those who believe that our society is being swamped by propaganda, half truth and untruth.”

One thing in this site’s favor, is that it is looking to create dialog.

Where PR Watch just bares it’s teeth at whatever comes to hand, at least is open to discussion on matters relating to Public Relations.

The site includes an article from incoming President of the IPR (UK variety of the PRSA) Anne Gregory (also a colleague of popular PR blogger Richard Bailey):

“It is time that the representatives of both the press and the PR industry has a serious discussion about the rules of engagement. It is not good for society that the critical faculties of the press are being blunted. Neither is it good that the genuine contribution of PR to the public agenda goes unrecognised. There is a mutual responsibility for a respectful distance to be kept between both professions and an equal responsibility for both to act respectfully towards the other, and that means honesty and integrity must prevail if society is to be served.”

Debate and discussion is a healthy way to deal with issues that people are passionate about.  I’m all for it. Standing on the moral high-ground and preaching to the plebs below achieves nothing. I’m interested in how this develops.

Written by Tom Murphy

August 12, 2003 at 10:33 am

Posted in General

PR Blogs proliferating

Well good news for the blog reading public, the number of new PR blogs continues to grow. 

My latest discoveries include PR News a weblog for University of Miami  PRSSA members and Phil’s Place a PR weblog from Belgium. 

Written by Tom Murphy

August 12, 2003 at 7:48 am

Posted in General

Another PR Blooper

In what is becoming something of a common industry practice, another unauthorized press release hit the wires.

Hill & Knowlton erroneously sent out a press release announcing a financial transaction by their client NextWave Telecom on August 1. H&K were right on it and had a follow-up statement out the same day.

The approved release hit the wires last week.

Written by Tom Murphy

August 11, 2003 at 12:05 pm

Posted in General

New Academic PR blog

Richard Bailey the UK’s PR blogging impressario and now full-time lecturer has kicked off a new PR blog for Leeds Metropolitan University.

Written by Tom Murphy

August 11, 2003 at 11:06 am

Posted in General

Who are the media influencers?

Up2Speed has an interesting post asking who the new media influencers are. In particular who the major technology influencers are.

I think weblogs are creating a new generation of influencers, but at the risk of sounding pass�I think existing media influencers continue to be vital. I would look at the new bloggers as an addition to your existing list, not a replacement. Good writing and innovative thinking is unique, it doesn’t depend on the medium. 

Written by Tom Murphy

August 11, 2003 at 9:51 am

Posted in General

Some PR stories run and run or should that be hit and run….

OK, OK, I know I said I’d leave Lizzie Grubman alone.  But where there’s good content, slow Summer news flow and a post to be filled, well sometimes you have to relent.

Now clearly Lizzie Grubman is good at what she does, otherwise she wouldn’t have a successful thriving bi-coastal PR agency. That’s a fact gentle reader. I don’t know anything about society or fashion PR, so I can’t critique her work. But she knows her stuff.

I posted previously how Lizzie was booked to give a three hour talk on PR.  For $49 that had to be a gimme for anyone in NYC.

However while she may be a successful PR, it seems she missed the point about what attendees paying good money for a session on “an expert in-depth look at what is takes to launch and maintain a sucessful PR career” would be looking for. Seminars usually involve skills and knowledge transfer.  You pay money to hear an expert and learn. Errrr, not in a seminar with Lizzie apparently. You don’t even get her side of the SUV incident, don’t mind tips on launching a new restaurant. Her response to any specific PR questions was: “I’m not giving away my secrets unless you hire me.”

Salon’s Lynn Harris has a very entertaining review of Lizzie’s seminar.

Meanwhile, Sheryl McCarthy, writing for Newsday, bemoans the amount of press inches (and pixels) Lizzie is getting. Not only is she still successfully running her PR firm, but she’s now landed a radio job at  WNEW-FM.

Sheryl finishes with this:

“Let’s all remember the Lizzie Grubman story every time we’re tempted to lecture some young minority kids about accepting affirmative action – because they will feel so much better about themselves if they achieve success based on their own hard work and merit. It seems one can either do it the hard way, or if one is fortunate enough to be born rich – and not have to work too hard – one can do it the Lizzie Grubman way.”

Written by Tom Murphy

August 11, 2003 at 9:43 am

Posted in General

Blog Relations: Some more examples

As we begin to pitch more blogs the differences between them and our traditional media mix becomes more apparent.  I’ve started to see PR pitch critiques appearing, where bloggers analyse pitches they’ve been sent.

Now of course this is a double edge sword.  On the one hand, by seeing the feedback these pitches get you can hone your own skills, however on the other hand what if it’s you pitch they critique?

Connors Communications pitched Aaron Bailey over at 601am on behalf of Vonage. Here’s the critique.

I think the takeaway here is that anything you put in an e-mail is in the public domain (that’s always been the case of course), make sure it’s well written and relevant and finally think about the media.  Weblogs are about online content, in other words, links!

Meanwhile Anne Holland discusses a PR pitch she got on behalf of Patrick Spain, CEO of Alacritude to discuss “how stupid his new competitors are”. I kid you not. The PR people even provided a quote in case Anne didn’t have time to interview him. Ahem.

Written by Tom Murphy

August 11, 2003 at 8:52 am

Posted in General

Do you wonder why you get so much spam?

The always readable Deborah Branscum may have the answer.

Spam exists because some people are stupid enough to reward these idots with their custom.

Deborah, had a post this week about the discovery of a list on the Internet of 6,000 people who responded to a spam for “Penis Enlargement”. Yep that’s right.

Seemingly 6,000 people gave over $300,000 or $17 per expected inch enlargement.  The interesting thing is the calibre of the suckers.  Read all about it at Medialife.

That spammer should follow up with the Nigerian scam offer, I’m sure at least half those 6,000 would believe that.

Written by Tom Murphy

August 8, 2003 at 11:09 am

Posted in General

PR and the art of redfacing

Well, well, well. Another lesson in the art of redfacing by a PR practitioner.

According to a story at Up2Speed, a PR person at UK firm ESpotting, which has recently merged with, sent out a press release cc’ing all 350 journalists in the distribution list of the e-mail. The press release in question, is a really exciting appointment announcement.

I won’t include the list of journalists as it’ll only make the spammers jobs easier.

Now normally when a PR person is called a buffoon, I would try and defend them.  In this case I agree with Up2Speed, but would like to use much stronger language.

Mail merge has been around for twenty years.  If you want a great example of poor online or electronic communication, this has to be this week’s case study.


Written by Tom Murphy

August 7, 2003 at 2:42 pm

Posted in General