By Jake Poinier
Right before the holidays, I received a story assignment for a lifestyle magazine—which meant trying to reach sources right in the heart of the holidays, and which is always a bit tricky with vacations and understaffed offices.
One of the guys called me back when I was on the 9th hole of a golf course with my family. Another called me at 7 a.m. on a morning after we’d been out late, so I was a bit bleary-eyed. Nonetheless, both were helpful once we finally connected.
The third contact, not so much—and they’re important, because they’re in the magazine’s local area. I left a voicemail. I filled out a form on their website. I called again and reached the guy, who said “send an email with interview questions to my assistant,” which I dutifully did.
I heard nothing.
My editor gave me an extension to get the locals in. When I gave another call to the company, the guy reiterated EXACTLY what he’d said the first time about sending an email to his assistant, adding that he’s too busy to schedule an interview at a moment’s notice. When I mentioned that it wasn’t really at a moment’s notice since I’d indeed done so more than a week prior, he was unapologetic. But he did ask that I contact his assistant again to get on his schedule.
So I slinked back to my editor for another extension, and her response was classic: “What is it about free advertising that they’re so adverse to?”
I’ve never quite understood when a company has a chance for free editorial placement, and they make life difficult. Maybe they’re suspicious that it’s a disguised sales pitch. Perhaps they’re so successful they don’t need more business. I dunno.
What I do know is that, 24 hours and a voicemail and an email reminder later, I still haven’t heard back.
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