Cinnamon Toast Shrimp, Post-Pandemic Workplace, State of Journalism 2021 and More.


Happy Tuesday, Lunch Breakers! It’s the last week of March, which means we’re cleaning up our remote workspaces from all of the crumpled and busted NCAA Tournament brackets. Better luck next year, 2021 March Madness darling, Oral Roberts.

In this week’s edition, we’re emptying out the cereal box with lessons from the Cinnamon Toast Shrimp fiasco, taking a look at the future of post-pandemic work, and gaining some valuable insight from Muck Rack’s latest State of Journalism survey.

Oh, Shrimp! Are You Cereal?

Has it only been a week since Twitter blessed us with the sugary-crusted crustacean conundrum known as Cinnamon Toast Shrimp? For the uninitiated, LA-based writer Jensen Karp Tweeted a picture of what appeared to be shrimp tails in his container of Cinnamon Toast Crunch. The incident went viral with Karp’s follow-up experience in dealing with General Mills, including a post from the company that claimed the shrimp tails were actually a build-up of cinnamon sugar. We recommend one social media manager’s take on #CinnamonToastShrimpGate via AdWeek – especially the takeaways about being transparent and having a pre-established crisis communications plan that covers the entire brand.

Re-Imagining the Workplace

Just like the famous lyric from Rent, this past year has felt like we’ve spent 525,600 minutes – on Zoom. It may seem that the light at the end of the pandemic tunnel is a vaccination rate high enough for a safe return to the office. But that doesn’t mean everything will return to normal. Vox’s Recode examines ten ways that office work will never be the same, including addressing the elephant in the room – working from home will still be a fixture. We’re also nodding our heads in agreement about asynchronous communication (don’t expect an instantaneous Slack response) along with the importance of understanding that we’re all human as we continue to cope through this shared, ongoing experience.

Do As I Say

A month hardly goes by where we don’t anxiously await Muck Rack’s latest batch of Bad PR Pitches. But of course, it’s not all schadenfreude. We also look forward to PR Maven Michael Smart’s analysis and insight. For March, it’s a reminder to ditch the subject line trickery, actually be sincere when soliciting a client interview for an outlet, and double-check automated pitches scheduled way in advance. Lest a reporter get a Happy New Year greeting three months into 2021.

State of Journalism 2021

This month, we’re bringing a double dose of Muck Rack’s journalist insight with their latest State of Journalism survey. In a chaotic year for reporters and communicators alike, the 2021 edition unsurprisingly found that nearly 95% of reporters surveyed are focusing on COVID-19 angles, and those journalists are now busier than ever. The average journalist, according to the reporter, covers 3 or more beats, receives over five pitches per day but only a quarter of their stories come from pitches. The good news is that nearly 80% of journalists are just as likely or more likely to respond to pitches compared to a year ago. An even greater percentage – 90% of reporters – are fine with PR pros sending at least one follow-up e-mail. Speaking of those pitches, it’s always a good bet to keep your message to under 200 words, aim your pitch for either Monday or Tuesday before Noon ET, and try to link your outreach to a trending story. Bonus points if you offer an exclusive.


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