This morning Robin Wauters at TechCrunch posted a story about an exchange his colleague, Leena Rao, had with a PR exec. In the post, Wauters posted their entire email conversation, in which the PR person is clearly frustrated with TechCrunch.
Did the PR exec that communicated with Rao via email show his frustration? Yes. He is clearly passionate about his client and was trying to work with Rao, but wasn’t able to accept her answer, which was no. He kept on pushing – too much – and what probably got him in deep water was his flabbergasted response and follow-up email, which was very rude.
However, I don’t see how the PR exec’s actions warranted an entire critical post from TechCrunch with his name in the headline. That seems a bit over-the-top. Sure, TechCrunch likes to play the mean guys when it comes to PR, but this went from an industry attack to a very personal attack.
Let me be clear, the email from this PR exec was rude, and all PR people need to remember that when they are pitching, they are representing their clients and need to act appropriately and respectfully. But in this case, TechCrunch’s actions were precisely what they’re speaking out against.
How can PR people, company execs, or anyone communicating with TechCrunch, be able to have an honest conversation, without fearing that one wrong word or phrase will rub someone the wrong way and result in a personal attack?
While this post won’t hurt TechCrunch, it will hurt the PR exec that’s been publicly attacked. And while his emails to Rao certainly should have resulted in the need to repair his relationship with TechCrunch, he didn’t deserve this.
(This isn’t the first time this has happened, either – a couple years ago Chris Anderson published a list of PR people he blocked emails from.)