As I type this, it’s late on a Friday afternoon, which means that at some point in the next couple of hours, I will most likely receive a press release via email, well after my work day, of minimal to zero importance.
Don’t get me wrong: I am more than willing to do work after-hours or on weekends if news of some importance happens to break. I have never thought of my job as a 9-to-5 (or a 5:30-to-2:30, as it may be). News happens when it happens, and the timing and flow can’t be controlled.
But the key word is “news.”
I would conservatively estimate that 99.9% of the press releases I’ve received late Friday afternoon or over the weekend are of questionable news value at best, or completely useless at worst.
Again, I am not lazy, and while no one wants their evenings or weekends to be disturbed, it’s part of the job when big news breaks.
But the 200th press release about a website that offers cover images for Facebook’s timeline profile is not big news. Nor is the 500th different ad-management platform. And a contest on your Facebook page? Nope … not big news.
I’m sure I speak for most reporters, bloggers, and whatnot when I say that at the end of the work week, our brains are deep-fried. If you’re going to get our attention Friday afternoon or over the winter, you need to kick our asses. So far, you’re not doing it. Not even close.
I even got a press release about a photo contest on a Facebook page at 4 p.m. on the Saturday of President’s Day weekend. Seriously? STOP THE PRESSES! At 4 p.m. on the Saturday of a holiday weekend, Mark Zuckerberg better be selling Facebook, or Sheryl Sandberg better have resigned, or Facebook better have bought its own country, or started charging $20 per month. The chance for Facebook users to win $50 worth of dog food for the best picture of their pooch doesn’t cut it.
I’m not saying that these releases are totally worthless, and I’m not saying I won’t look into them and possibly cover them and write something about them during the week. I’m just saying that it would be smarter to just save them for Monday morning. You may think you’re drawing attention to your news by sending it at 7 p.m. on Friday or noon on Saturday or whenever, but the attention you’re drawing may not be positive.
For the love of God, respect the weekend.