Friday, March 31, 2006

Split personality

I am writing to you as I am very concerned about the mental health of a senior, veteran technology hack. I am witnessing signs of multiple personalities and wonder if he might need to seek help?

This seasoned IT freelance hack has a well known reputation amongst the PR fraternity as being ‘Mr Nasty’ - unnecessarily miserable and incredibly rude. For years, he has hung up on and shouted at both experienced and junior PRs alike. We’ve all become used to Mr Nasty, his bad manners and un-professionalism, however recently he’s started to show signs of instability. First of all, I just thought it was a change for the better. This hack developed a second personality – Mr Nice.

He started sending PR’s polite emails and even an invite to a party – where he was paying for the food and drink. What a nice chap, I thought. Perhaps he’s feeling repentant? Or perhaps he is so happy that he’s launched a training company for PR people that he just can’t keep his happiness to himself? Either way, who am I to be cynical about it? I embraced this new found loving.

But, just as there was me getting used to Mr Nice, up pops Mr Nasty again yesterday (30 March) on UK Press, ranting about some poor PR agency (no I don’t work for them) and calling it ‘rubbish’ and questioning its professionalism. It’s not nice to be named and shamed amongst a community is it? Could this split personality syndrome be caused by the pressure of having to be Mr Nice in the run up to tonight’s launch party?

Such a shame when you base your business model on a community of professionals that you just can’t stand. My advice to him would be to keep taking the pills!


  • Funny, bit a bit silly. I don't hate PRs and it's a sign of a very outdated attitude to say I did - last time I may have exhibited such behaviour, allegedly, would have been 2000 when I was doing 2 jobs at Computing and to be frank didn't have the time to deal with people who had never read the paper calling us on press day etc. LIKE ALL JOURNOS.
    What's a little bit of a shame about this posting is that it's mean-spirited not so much about my and Sally"s business, which is fair comment, though the 400 people who've been on our courses since 2001 may have a different view, but about the point of the event, which was to raise £ for the Byte Night charity. I'd recommend the blogger makes up for this spite by a modest donation to the charity and we'll leave it there. Deal?

    By Anonymous Gary Flood, at 1:57 PM  

  • PS: UK Press is a community of PR people who take what they do seriously, as do I, and is often a venue for people to share frustrations about professional hassles, which is what I was doing. Blogger must never have been working to deadline trying to write copy about a company that passes all media enquiries to a PR company that doesn't respond. Having said that let me say that Finsbury came through in the end and all is well! So fuck off. Oops! Nasty side slips out again :-(((

    By Anonymous Gary Flood, at 2:00 PM  

  • Ahh yes, I remember this very chap absolutely lambasting a junior account exec by email a good few years ago. His issue was that the JAE had sent an email pitch for a feature that was not only closed but had actually been published. The hack in question left no doubt as to his fury at the stupidity and lack of knowledge of the exec.

    Which is fair enough really, except the JAE hadn't pitched that article. The hack had not only got the wrong exec and the wrong account but also totally the wrong agency .

    He did then apologise when he realised his mistake. Not face to face though as when the JAE bumped into the guy at an event a few weeks later he refused to speak to the JAE as he swore he had never had any contact with any blokes at from our agency but had only ever spoken to females - which was blatently not true.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:27 PM  

  • Thanks for the plug - much appreciated.

    incidentally, our business model at the:101 isn't based on a community we hate. Nobody at our PR training company hates PRs. Tell you what we do hate, though?

    Useless PR practice. Like setting up a conference call and then forgetting to disconnect it at the end of the call. Or calling up and asking for information for a features list for Computing, which I left about 4 years ago. Or sending 4mb picture attachments to a freelancer's hotmail address.

    Sure, some days we're nice, some days we're nasty. But if we offered training courses run by journalists who were only ever nice to their colleagues in PR, frankly, what would be the point???

    And incidentally, our party was to support NCH Byte Night, and we raised over £500 in total. So thanks to all our friends and associates in both the hacks and flacks communities.

    Sally Flood

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:45 PM  

  • Fair old exchange, eh? I won't add more myself, other than to encourage PRs and their clients to get involved in Byte Night this year. Mr Badhack did so himself a couple of years back and not only is it for a brilliant cause, it's also a good laugh. Check it out at

    By Blogger mrbadhack, at 6:02 PM  

  • I'd have to disagree with Gary. The original posted wasn't spiteful or mean spirited - it was a stroke of honest genius. It was everything a PR piece should be - entertaining, well written and factual.

    On the other hand, Gary's response really does show his true colours. It is defensive, un-constructed and smacks of a tantrum. Come on Gary - you can do better than that. Perhaps you could do with a bit of help from a PR agency / professional with managing your reputation online? I could recommend a few good online PR agencies. :)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:49 AM  

  • All anyone wants is to deal with a professional. People who waste our time or give us poop to work with have no place in our industry - either side of the fence. Therefore it's important that criticisms are aired and learnt from.

    I'm sure Gary and Sally's training is great. Full stop.

    But perhaps to balance the karmic forces of the media universe, we need hack:101. A training course for hacks on basic etiquette and how to handle flacks? :)

    By Blogger PR Monkey, at 2:00 PM  

  • I have to say I can't agree with the initial post - I've been dealing with the journalist involved since I was a account exec and, whilst he may have been a scary figure then, I don't think I ever suffered any treatment that I didn't deserve from pitching irrelevant stuff.

    I run my own thing now and send my staff on his training courses so he can't have been that bad.

    Not adding much to the conversation I know but felt like I had to defend an unfairly sleighted reputation.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:14 AM  

  • An. Other great aspect of some people is the ability to completely forget the time and date of a conference call involving both a vendor and a customer. Oftentimes one has scheduled a call and the gentleman is nowhere to be heard. In most businesses one could not get away with such serial unprofessionalism. But popping up on response source from time to time does give one some power, doesn't it? Another funt hing to do is pretend that one has never spoken to the person on the phone before, even though they should be rather familiar. Rather pathetic bullying technique. As soon as it is detected it just leaves to more contempt. Hmmm....

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:46 AM  

  • Looks like we're not the only ones. Did you see the letters page of PR Business this week? This particular journalist isn't making many friends in the industry at the moment.

    Issue dated 5th April.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:36 PM  

  • Hey, interesting discussion. I hate people being rude to PR people--I've no idea if Gary is one of those.

    However, he is using his name and you people are not. If you are going to call out someone, at least have the cojones to use your real name, it's only fair.

    By Anonymous Tom Foremski, at 11:30 PM  

  • Hi Tom - thanks for the post.

    Just to be clear, I simply set up this blog and posted the very first story...every entry and comment since then has come from others in the industry and don't (necessarily) reflect my own view. People who email posts and make comments are free to keep themselves anonymous, or not.

    For obvious reasons, BadHack said that it would never name names in posts...and Gary wasn't mentioned in the original post here. Again, it's up to people emailing posts as to how obvious they want to make the subject of the post.

    Anyway, onwards and has been an interesting discussion but has probably run its course now!

    By Blogger mrbadhack, at 9:22 AM  

  • "Useless PR practice. Like setting up a conference call and then forgetting to disconnect it at the end of the call."

    Dubious journalist practice: You have a choice whether to listen into the PR's conversation with the client afterwards or mention you are on the line still when you realise they haven't hung up. You also have a choice whether to kick off about it and try and get to the head of the agency to get the said PR's arse kicked...

    Plus didnt this happen about 5 or 6 years ago? Rumour has it you've been 101'ing it ever since - without perhaps putting the side I have just suggested...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:48 PM  

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