Dr Spinola's PR masterclass

Some more dos and don'ts from the world's foremost spin doctor

To start today, a plea to all junior PR bunnies out there.

The one and only Doctor Spinola

Whyohwhyohwhy is it that when a press release arrives on the desk of a key journo, the contact cited for further information is a) on holiday, b) in meetings all day, or c) no longer with the company?

If you're issuing a release, please have the good manners to ensure that the contact will be available when hacks are likely to phone in. This normally means the day the release is issued (except for ZDNet UK, when it will be 10-14 days later).

And now, some more words and phrases to avoid in all press releases.

Y2K Unless you are referring to the year 2048, it's not wise to use this expression. Let's not forget that it was exactly this kind of abbreviation that caused all the trouble in the first place.

Millennium You'll never spell it correctly throughout the release.

Key Nothing in IT is that important.

Hacker A hacker is often confused with a cracker. A hacker is a kind, considerate, public-spirited kind of a person, whereas a cracker is an evil, criminal scumsucker. Or is it the other way round?

Cracker See Hacker (cf)

Wombat There are few, if any, reasons for referring to antipodean marsupials in any IT press release. Except in a headline.

Innovative No it isn't.

Specialist So you can only do one thing?

Challenge If it's a problem, call it a problem.

Tailored solutions Does sir dress to the left or right?

Strategic alliances As opposed to tactical alliances?

Committed Can often suggest being tucked up for being a certified loon, rather than being dedicated.

Top-to-bottom Top's OK, but bottom?

Proven aka old.

Enterprise It's a spaceship.

Slavish adherence to the style guide If your release ends with phrases like:

"Notes to Editors: The recommended way of writing GeForce 256 is with an uppercase G and F, all other letters lowercase, with a space between GeForce and 256."

or

"The recommended way of writing Vanta and Quadro is in title case. Please note that the recommended way of writing NVIDIA, RIVA 128, RIVA 128ZX, RIVA TNT and RIVA TNT2 is all CAPITALS."

You are terminally sad. ®

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