Skip to content

Inspector Google bases career on PR-reviewed phindings

February 4th, 2009

Dr Petra

Anyone who knows me well will be aware of how promiscuous I am with my crushes. Usually they are pretty random and I’m fairly flighty so one day’s crush is quickly replaced with another.

That said, there are a few folk for whom my pashes just grow and grow. And one of them is Charlie Brooker who is witty, sarcastic, incisive, mean and very good at putting into words things I’d like to say if I were cleverer and funny.

I think you’ll also start a crush of your own when you read Mr Brooker’s recent column where he unveils his New Media Dictionary. It’s all good, but two definitions particularly made it for me:

Up first

inspector Google (inspector googol) n. Allegedly “investigative” reporter who relies solely on the internet.

Ah yes, I meet Inspector Google pretty much every day. It seems most journalists solely rely on google to inform any story they’re writing, which given that most I hear from are writing about sexual health stories is a bit of a worry. If only they’d diversify into google scholar sometimes at least we might see a bit of improvement in background research and subsequent writing.

And my favourite
PR-reviewed phindings (peeyarr-rev-yood-fyne-dings) n. Light-hearted newspaper article based around any risible “scientific survey” produced by a marketing agency to promote a product or service; eg: “It’s the BREAST news men have heard in years – Britain’s women are set to evolve BIGGER BOOBS in future, according to scientists at Cardiff’s Wonderbra Institute of Titology.”

Regular readers of this blog will be familiar with my ongoing rants about PR based research and its misuse of surveys and formulae.

Often the problem of Inspector Google seems tied in with PR-reviewed phindings as journalists always need to stack up their stories/programmes with some statistics, so they go to google and find some random percentage from some daft PR survey and bingo! Job done.

I’m always pleased to have a name for my pain and can now brave using the term Inspector Google if I really want to hack off a hack. That’s probably less likely than me drawing attention to their using PR-reviewed phindings, although worryingly I actually used that term this week in a telephone exchange with a journalist that went like this….

Journalist: Hi, I’m writing a piece about how women get more desperate for sex as they age, as a recent survey shows that older women are more sexually aggressive
Me: Ah, you’re using PR-reviewed phindings for your piece
Journalist: (sounding proud) Er yes, yes I am.

It would be deliciously ironic if it also weren’t so downright depressing. I’ll need to change my tack and ensure I use the appropriate Brooker-esque sarcastic tone when I use the term next time. Otherwise journalists’ll just think I’m giving them a compliment.

Comments are closed.