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Are You a 'New' or 'Old' Flack?
By: Gerard E. Mayers
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Ragan.com has done it again...reminding us flacks how much things have changed in the PR world, especially since the dawn of the Millennium.

In a column published just the other day, Michelle A. Sieling listed the ten items indicating whether you belong to the “new” or “old” school of PR practice. Let’s see if you can or can not remember doing any of the following, as noted by Ms. Sieling:

1. Stuffing envelopes. And snail mailing press releases.

2. Blasting client news via fax. It seemed like a revelation.

3. Editing press releases — with red pens and proofreader’s marks.

4. Mailing press kit folders instead of virtual ones — not to mention attaching executive photos, business cards, etc.

5. Conducting press tours — in person.

6. Clipping client media coverage. This meant physically cutting newspaper and magazine articles and pasting them onto a piece of paper for clip books, which you bound into physical books and sent in the mail to clients.

7. Your clients went to COMDEX instead of CES.

8. Flipping through Bacon’s Directories. That was how you found media contact information.

9. Checking into the office meant calling from a landline, maybe even a pay phone. It didn’t mean accessing email or voice messages on your smartphone, tablet, or laptop.

10. Scheduling meetings on a Palm Pilot.

She also noted, Can you imagine pitching media without email or distributing a press release without online forms? Think about how long that would take. It’s been less than 20 years since people started adopting Web-based email as one of their main forms of communication, and using the Internet as the tool to do everything from read a trade publication to download a virtual press kit. Some of the tools and activities of veteran public relations professionals would seem foreign to those entering the workforce today.”


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About the Author
Gerard E. "Gerry" Mayers writes about PR and other relevant topics for PR professionals. A former PR manager for Sensor Products, Inc. (currently based in Madison, NJ), he lives in Milford, NJ.
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