After reading both the Bad Pitch Blog’s post and Stephen Baker’s (of BusinessWeek) account of a less-than-informed PR person, I can’t help but think that even if you are an extremely busy PR person, doing a little homework could be invaluable.
Before picking up the phone to follow up on a pitch, spend a few minutes researching the journalist you are pitching. A quick Google search on “Stephen Baker BusinessWeek” brought up all kinds of relevant links. Some clip services (including Clip IQ) allow users to review stories written by a specific journalist. For example, in ClipIQ there is a button next to the byline name–one click pulls up other stories authored by the same journalist.
It only takes a little time, and could save embarrassment. I think whomever contacted Stephen Baker is quite lucky–any number of bloggers would have posted a name, or at least the PR firm’s name.