PR agency won’t repeat journalist awards following complaint from recipient

MonicaThe owner of the PR agency which dished out trophies to its favourite journalists has insisted “it was not a bad idea”, but admitted it will be the first and last time it runs the awards after receiving a complaint from one of the winners, and ridicule on social media.

Wordstorm founder Monica Rosenfeld announced the winners of its inaugural Stormy Awards last week, with the recipients receiving the surprise trophy in the post. Awards ranged from the ‘most approachable TV producer’, to ‘the journalist that best featured our client’ and ‘the journalist we’d most love to employ as a PR’.

But the awards were roundly condemned on social media by both journalists and PRs, with one Twitter user saying “I love my job and think there’s good to be done through it, but people in the wider PR industry make me sick at times”.

The agency has apologised to one winner who complained her reputation had been tarnished.

Rosenfeld, who founded Wordstorm 14 years ago, defended the awards, insisting it was simply a “light-hearted” way of recognising journalists and claimed a “fair few” winners had been supportive.

“The aim was to acknowledge bloggers and journalists and the work they do in a fun and light hearted way. It was nothing deeper than that,” she told Mumbrella. “We had one journalist contact us who was not happy and we are talking to her at the moment. We sent her an apology.

“But most just took it very well and we had a fair few emailing saying it was a nice thing to do. I am surprised at the negativity because it was just light hearted activity.”

She said the winner who complained wrote a story about a charity called Hands Across the World, a pro-bono client of Wordstorm.

“Without such publicity for Hands Across the World it would not be able to continue its work,” she said.

Asked if she regretted The Stormys Rosenfeld said: “It is not something we would go again because of the negativity. In hindsight, I don’t think it was a bad idea but if we did it again then we would give more thought to the nature of the awards.”

On its website, Wordstorm said of the awards: “The Stormy Awards reward journalists and bloggers who we feel stand out in their category, on both a professional and personal level. These awards are our way of saying thank you to our friends in the media who make our job a little easier and much more enjoyable!”

Steve Jones


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