That noise you heard on Sunday morning was millions of public relations professionals groaning as they opened their Sunday New York Times to an article titled “Swatting at a Storm of Public Relations Spam.” Reporter David Segal lamented changes to the newspaper’s email system that allowed a barrage of off-topic pitches to land in his inbox.

Where are the emails about mortgage rip-offs and foreclosure scams? Or rent-to-own fiascos? Or moving-company nightmares? Oh, how the Haggler longs for these gruesome yarns! Instead, do you know what hogs space in his benighted in-box? Emails with headers like “New! First Self-Chilling Iceless Drinking Glass — Editorial Sample?

This is an unsolicited public relations pitch — P.R. spam, more succinctly — one of hundreds of thousands that belly-flop into the email systems of journalists every day.

As a former magazine journalist, I know all too well the barrage of off-topic, never-in-a-million-years press releases and event pitches that can land in a time-strapped reporter’s inbox. At Solomon McCown’s Brown Bag lunches with journalists, one of the first things we typically hear when we ask how PR professionals can better work with them: Please know my coverage area so you don’t send me a pitch in which I have no interest.

It’s easy to give into the temptation to blanket every journalist within a 500 mile radius with a press release to increase the odds of getting coverage, but it usually just results in a PR professional’s email address being added to the spam list. Read news in your industry—whether it’s the self-chilling iceless drinking glass sector or healthcare. Read, watch, and share what reporters are writing about in your space. Become a trusted source of news and ideas for journalists; not a source of consternation.