Contrary to popular belief, the Computer Weekly team are an awfully discerning bunch when deciding who to interview, with relatively few of the IT industry’s waifs and strays making the cut.
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One way to ensure one of our award-winning (or losing) journalists won’t be swapping conference call deets with a potential interviewee is if the words “sales” or “marketing” appear anywhere in their job title.
Our battle-worn colleagues in the PR industry know this well, but that doesn’t stop some from trying to sneak the views of their chief marketing officer, product evangelist or senior sales monkey into the hallowed, digital pages of Computer Weekly.
Sometimes they will resort to disguising their client’s job title (or hold back on confirming it is for as long as possible), which is a bit daft given LinkedIn is a thing that exists to help you find this information out.
Once they know the game is up, though, most PRs apologise, citing crossed-wires, before either offering up an alternative interviewee or beating a hasty retreat to whatever wine bar, coffee shop or supposedly cool co-working space they call their own.
But that’s not always how this scenario plays out, as one Computer Weekly journalist discovered to their horror recently, after turning down a PR’s offer to conflab with some hot-shot company marketing bod, instead of the techie they originally requested to speak to.
With the shot at some coverage for their client in Computer Weekly hanging in the balance, the PR (who shall remain nameless) asked our journalist to suggest an alternative job title for their “marketeer” that might prove a better fit for our readership.
“Obviously we can’t promote him to CEO or anything, but for your purposes, he can be whoever you need him to be and do whatever you want.” Now, dear reader, this Pretty Woman-esque proposition is not one our writers often find themselves on the receiving end of, and certainly not outside of Soho’s less salubrious drinking dens.
In keeping with the behaviour of our tabloid counterparts, our writer made their excuses and exited the conversation at this point, without waiting to hear what lengths the PR’s client would be willing to go to just to appear in the UK’s foremost IT publication.