Bill of Rights

5/2/10 Update read an overview of the campaign and the outcomes of the debate here and how it is being taken forward here.

2/2/10 Update: This excellent article from 1999, “The Care and Feeding of the Press“, was cited on FIR#522 last night by Shel Holtz and is well worth a read. It makes a number of similar points in connection with journalists specifically (as opposed to bloggers which our list is also intended to cover), but in a more jocular style.

28/1/10 Update : the conversation has moved on. Read our FAQs about the Bill of Rights here and the Animation here. Read the debate a PR Week UK and our response regarding some of the language used and how the campaign could be moved forward more productively based on feedback.


The following are rights that we believe have been demanded by journalists and bloggers as to how they should be treated and approached by the PR community and related service providers. These rights are for discussion as  a practical contract between the two communities.

Right 1 – Permission required

Press releases should only be sent to Recipients who have given express or implied permission. Implied permission meaning the recipient has stated publicly that they are happy to receive press releases.

Right 2 – Timely unsubscribe

Should a Recipient be added to a distribution list either voluntarily or involuntarily he or she has the right to be removed from that list in a timely manner if they request it.

Right 3 – Don’t rely on media lists exclusively

The PR person should not wholly rely on purchased media lists to ensure accurate targeting.

Right 4 – Read publication first

Before any correspondence is entered into, the PR person will have first researched the Recipient’s subject focus and read the publication or articles they write or publish to ensure that the content is relevant.

Right 5 – Categorise interests in detail

The Recipient has the right to expect that PR people will categorise their interests in detail and not label them under a vague description such as ‘technology’.

Right 6 – Types of release

A Recipient has the right to receive press releases about ‘types’ of stories that they are likely to be interested in and not announcements of any kind just because of an industry categorisation.

Right 7 – Telephone chasing

After receiving a press release the Recipient should not expect a follow up call from the sender just to check the email was received. Acts of such kind only waste time and have no bearing on whether a press release is used for a news story.

Right 8 – Succinct headlines

A Recipient has the right to receive press releases with succinctly written headlines so a decision of interest can be made quickly.

Right 9 – Use clear format

A Recipient has the right to receive press release emails that have been formatted to highlight the key information quickly to the reader, such as a summary of the story, who it is about, contact details and links to supporting information.

Right 10 – No attachments

A Recipient has the right not to receive any press release or related content as an attachment to the corresponding email.

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