There are few things that will make a PR's heart sink more than the call with a client that starts "we need to recall that issued press release...."
It happens a lot. More than it should. And in almost every instance it is a complete waste of time. It can also spectacularly backfire, running the risk of fuelling a non-existent fire.
I am sure there are occasions when a press release does need to be recalled (although I am struggling to think of any). More often than not, a press release is recalled because somebody made a silly mistake.
Most press releases are, let's be honest, completely ignored by journalists. Our carefully crafted words sink without trace.
When a press release is recalled it triggers the 'why, what happened' question from a journalist. A press release that was likely to have been missed or ignored is suddenly in the spotlight.
At best, a kindly journalist will agree and delete the press release. But, as the Standard's city reporter Simon English points out, it could easily find itself on the diary pages (or worse).
If a mistake is genuinely made, a correction is better than a recall.
The flak emails that get the biggest laugh in the office - not in a good way - are all ones we didn’t read in the first place. Interest is piqued when the follow up email lands titled: “We would like to recall the email that began….”