There has been quite a dust-up in the PR world about Chris Anderson’s blog post where he upbraided legions of publicists for for sending him unsolicited e-mails.  In making his point, he published the e-mail addresses of the guilty ones — some 329.

The hubbub has been widely reported in PR blogs and is covered in today’s New York Times in a story "Things Turn Ugly in the ‘Hacks v. Flacks’ War.

I know Chris as both a "flack," when Plesser Holland represented WIRED magazine a couple years back, and as a "hack" in my new, second life as video blogger/producer of Beet.TV

Chris is a brilliant editor and has accomplished quite at the magazine and has had extraordinary success with his book and ensuing career as an author/speaker. 

But, Chris is skeptical, at best, of the process of publicists "pitching" or placing stories or acting as a go between.  I think he believes that information has to be conveyed on a basis of trust and authority.

Chris’s actions were surely harsh and I don’t think that publishing all those names was the right thing, but public relations professionals simply can’t spam the inbox of editors.  We need to understand the value of the information we have — and how to communicate it the  "old fashioned way," by building one-on-one relationships.  And we must embrace using new media platforms including blogs, vlogs and social networks. 

Which brings me to my camera bag story.  I had the good fortune to interview Chris at Wired’s San Francisco offices last December.  Chris was pleased to see me, asked about Beet.TV and how it all works.  We had an expansive interview, which I’ve posted above. 

When we concluded, he delighted in bringing me to the center of the editorial staff cubes to  "re-introducing" me as a "power blogger" and their former publicist. After the quick comments, helped me with my equipment to the elevator.  It was quite flattering.

Although Chris was a good client for me and Kent, and we had good relationship, I always understood his ambivalence about publicists and our work.  (By the way, I don’t pitch him stories!)

If there is a lesson from this e-mail disclosure business, it is that editors want to be reached on a level of authority — and we "flacks" better work hard and be creative.

— Andy Plesser

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