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101 uses for a daft press release

Local and regional press journalists have long been used to receiving scores of press releases each week that have little relevance to their patches.

Normally, they go straight in the recycling – or the “deleted items” folder in the case of the electronic ones. But one regional newspaperman found a better use for them.

Instead of just binning them, Grantham Journal assistant editor Bob Hart collected them together for a great Christmas feature that was published in the paper over the holiday period.

Here it is in full.

“BRITNEY Spears urged to re-think using animals in pop videos.”

“There has NEVER been a better time to enjoy British leeks.”

“BOWEL habits leave men in the East Midlands more red-faced than sex.”

They’re just three examples of the kinds of e-mail press releases we at the Grantham Journal receive on a daily basis. Sorting the wheat from the chaff, working out what’s of interest to Grantham people and what’s not, can be a painful process.

Being a journalist is great fun and all of us here love what we do. But like any job it’s not without its frustrations and one of them is the incessant flow of worthless e-mail from perky, bubbly, over-familiar press officers tucked away in London PR bureaux.

They send us stuff that has NOTHING whatsoever to do with Grantham, or Lincolnshire – or even reality.

Here’s a selection of the stuff we protect you from on a daily basis …

“COSMETIC surgery is set to replace perfume and underwear as the number one Christmas gift for adults this year.” Hint: The use of the phrase “is set to” shows this rubbish has just been made up.

“It doesn’t matter what size your engine is – what really matters when you’re behind the wheel is whether you’re wonky, flashy, pushy, nosy or perfect. The different kinds of parkers emerged in a study of 3,000 drivers by car maker Hyundai which also revealed 58 per cent have trouble parking their cars.” Now maybe I’m wrong – but this doesn’t actually matter at all does it?

“Saxon Motorcycles starts dealerships in Scandinavia.” American company opens dealership in Denmark. That’s one for the Grantham Journal’s local business section then.

“Monopoly has topped a poll as the greatest board game of all time.” Hold the front page!

“Credit crunch bites – even jewellery gifts aren’t immune!” Surely jewellery gifts are the first things that go in a recession?

“Growing your own mushrooms could cost up to 22 times more than buying the same variety in a supermarket, a new report from Which? Gardening has found.” Time to find a new hobby. This one’s getting too expensive. But there’s NEVER been a better time to enjoy British leeks …

“Credit crunch hits price of celebrity shoes.” This one was so inane it hardly merits comment.

Sarah Jester is surely having a laugh when she writes: “Are you hosting or entertaining friends and family this Christmas? Why not create the perfect Christmas welcome for your home with a new gate from Cannock Gates.”

Good of this press officer to repeatedly send this release to all the papers in the midlands: “SOUTH EAST OUTRAGE AS BROWN RATES ROW GROWS.” That’s Gordon Brown we presume.

The ever helpful Rebecca Crouch writes: “Please contact us if you would like an interview with a consultant dermatologist or scalp psoriasis patient, or to request scalp psoriasis imagery.” Who knows or dares to dream what scalp psoriasis imagery looks like? Note the word is not images, as in pictures – but imagery. What does that involve then, a poem about flaky scalps? Who’s working there – John Betjeman?

But the prize for most desperate ploy to get your company’s name in the papers goes to … “Storm warning for trampoline owners.”

Andrew Jardine, director of ******* Trampolines, says: “Trampolines are reasonably robust pieces of equipment, but can easily catch the wind during particularly stormy weather and can be flung from one end of the garden to the other with comparative ease. As well as potentially damaging the trampoline structure, the trampoline itself can cause huge amounts of damage to gardens, property and potentially cause serious injury if they hit a passer-by.”

You have been warned!


Verite Reily Collins (09/01/2009 10:53:52)
As a fellow journalist this story gave me a massive humour boost.
But it also answered a question. Thanks to you I now know that UFOs are actually trampolines caught in a storm.

raymondo (09/01/2009 12:39:53)
OK they are stoopid – but where are the 101 Uses for them? Sack the headline writer

tim jones (09/01/2009 13:06:19)
ha ha ha you mis-spelt stupid. how embarassing for you – sack Raymondo!

Russell Cavanagh (10/01/2009 11:22:09)
Thanks for the ideas – my PR department is hard at work now …

Andrew Hemphill (12/01/2009 16:11:55)
This is a brilliant idea, and so much more interesting than the constant flow of Nativity pages i’ve been subbing over the last couple of months.
Now i’m off to Tesco, as there has NEVER been a better time to enjoy British leeks….