And then there are emails telling me that X is flying into London - someone I've never heard of from a company I've never heard of - and offering me an exclusive opportunity to interview him or her. Does this ever work?I have done this, and yes, it does work occasionally. Even though you may never have heard of my client, your readers would be interested. This is because my client has a product or service that your readers are interested in, even though they have not heard of my client. I know this because I have read enough of your work to be conversant with the interests of your audience. This is precisely the process that transforms nobodies into somebodies and, frankly, why I was hired.
I still make telephone calls, because I rarely place a story without telephone work. The day I can place a story without a telephone call is the day I stop making calls. Email is far more time efficient.
As for the rest of it, offering an exclusive when it isn't really an exclusive is appalling PR malpractice, and I am very sorry to hear that people are doing this. When I offer exclusives, I usually put a time limit on it, as in, "This is an exclusive, let me know by close of business by tomorrow if you want it." Obviously if a reporter is not interested in the story I will start sending it around. As for jargon and buzzwords, we all struggle with them, which is why IABC created this very amusing video: