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What’s An “Activist”?

May 6, 2013

Journalists go wobbly over use of the term “terrorist,” but not so when it comes to the word “activist.”

For many journalists, there is nothing nobler than the activist, who, in their mind, is devoting his or her life to a chosen cause.  It’s not a real job title, but journalists use it anyway.  Activist is code for “good guy.”

PR Peeve #1: “Real People”

November 23, 2012

Reporters often insist on talking to “real people,” not “experts.”  This can be dangerous if the topic relates to investments or health, but it happens all the time.  Interviewing someone who lost 100 pounds by eating nothing but lettuce or someone who became rich by investing only in companies with names starting in vowels is a really bad idea.  It sends the message that you, the reader, can do the same.  Go back and interview the same people next year and you’ll find that the dieter has gained back 100 pounds and then some, and the investor is broke.

Wouldn’t you rather interview “experts” who know what they’re talking about?

A summary of PR Peeves initially appeared in an article we wrote for the Worcester Business Journal.