Speed and interruption

At around 5:30 p.m. in the office, I realized I didn’t want to get up to use the bathroom for fear of missing something. What a thought.

Remember that scene in “The Devil Wears Prada,” where Emily Assistant 1 bars Andy Assistant 2 from even thinking about getting up to use the bathroom and leaving the front desk unmanned? That’s what came to mind, when at 5 p.m. a review embargo we had placed on reporters lifted, and we immediately set on tracking their coverage on us in real time. As soon as we launch a game or major product update, we start this Internet-scouring scavenger hunt for their articles. It’s not always the finding that’s hard, but rather the finding right now. Somewhere in the world, likely in San Francisco, a reporter pressed “post” on an article with our name in it, and ideally within minutes we’ll have read and summarized what they wrote. This coverage report is for internal eyes, specifically the PR team and corporate executives, to see and know immediately what reporters are proclaiming to the world about us: if it’s official, great, or bad and we have to put out the fires ASAP. It’s urgent, because if half of PR is getting our story out there, the other half is ensuring the story stays straight.

PR has a relationship with journalism more dynamic than I expected. I assumed it would be more one-sided, as in a company pitching reporters and insisting we were newsworthy. I did not realize, though, the relationship would be this angry, like when reporters come crashing (figuratively) in, demanding comments to rumors, and executives retorting angrily back. I did not realize it would be this friendly, like when we’re all chatting over chocolate souffle together at a press luncheon. I certainly did not realize it would be this fast, but I guess it makes sense: journalists are chasing breaking news and we want to be the breaking news. Not only that, but sometimes we are breaking news when we didn’t mean to be (and boy is that when the phones are ringing).

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