30 November 2009

monday's inbox

Monday mornings never come easy for me, especially when I've been up fact-checking a guidebook until 3 a.m. the previous night. Throw in daily noon deadlines and I pretty much roll out of bed, head straight to the French press, turn on my laptop and hit the ground running. I usually fire up Tweetdeck, open Skype and plow through dozens of emails -- mostly from publicists pitching me story ideas. There's usually some confusion on how to spell my name (I get a lot of Cheryl, Karen, and Sharon), or they think I still live in San Francisco (haven't since 2003) and for some reason, think mother/daughter plastic surgery getaways qualify as a "travel story." Umm...that's so Real Housewives of Orange County and so not my beat. I usually just hit "delete" and move onto the next message. No big deal.

This morning, though, the inbox revealed a real gem. A Public Relations Coordinator in the British Columbia sent me a fully written article on her client in Costa Rica "free of charge, along with some excellent artwork to complement the story." Wow. Why have I bothered to travel the world, experience destinations first-hand and then report fairly when I can have access to spoon-fed material from the hired PR mouthpiece? Oh wait, that's because I'm a journalist. I was slightly less offended when I saw that the PR Coordinator not only managed to mispell her own name in the "From" line in the emaill address, but also the client's name in the email signature. Unbelievable.

I called out the agency's erroneous ways on the cyber super/social highway (a.k.a. Facebook and Twitter) and thankfully, my email response to "Sylivia" was far kinder than that of many of my colleagues who received the same slap to their journalistic integrity. Some journos may want to take the easy route. I'm not that gal. I seek a path of authenticity and I'm willing to work as hard as neccesary to find it.

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