One in an occasional series.
This is as much the fault of lazy journalists as it is public relations people. When big news is scheduled to happen, the P.R. people will send out canned, generic comments reporters can fold into their stories to make it look like they took the time to analyze the event and get reaction.
For example, Facebook will release its third quarter earnings today. Yesterday I got this ready-made quote from a prominent professor included in a news release from the business school of a well-known East Coast university:
“Users of Facebook are likely to be people in their 20s on a budget. However, they still give each other gifts. Facebook has the potential to tap the gift market if it starts with impulse items that are relatively low ticket items. Over time, it has the potential to migrate its user base to more expensive items and in so doing, it has the potential to generate greater profit from gift giving.”
The problem is any reporter lazy enough to use the quote is going to have to make the news fit the quote, instead of going out and getting honest, useful reaction from expert readers to help readers better understand the news and how Facebook Gifts plays into the 3Q earnings release.
Want to know who said it and what school blasted it out to everyone who covers Facebook (I know it was a blast because it was sent to my personal email address, which at some point was included in a pay-for-play public relations database of reporters who cover Facebook)? Google the quote or portions of the quote this afternoon or tomorrow morning and see how many reporters opted to do some copy-and-paste reporting.