March 07, 2006
MORE ON BLOGGERS AND P.R.: Here's an article in the New York Times about bloggers, PR, and Wal-Mart. It's getting a ho-hum reaction from Wonkette. My thoughts on the general subject can be found here.
Slashdot readers seem to be of mixed opinion.
Duncan Black weighs in: "Unless I'm missing something this New York Times article is just another stab at holding bloggers to ethical standards and practices which don't apply anywhere else in the universe."
MORE: Jeff Jarvis observes:
Remember that reporters do not tell you every story idea that came from a flack — and so stories do start with PR pitches that I’ve often said if I ran a paper, I’d have flack-free days: Every story in today’s paper came from actual reporting! (It’d probably be a thin Saturday.)
Reporters may be smart enough to rewrite the verbiage in press releases (unlike the hapless blogger in the Times story caught quoting Walmart’s flackery without attribution — a practice Edelman, smartly, warned them against). But they don’t tell you all the and facts and viewpoints they use from flacks.
Reporters do not tell you about the meetings, lunches, drinks, and help given them by flacks.
There is no scandal in the Times story. And in fairness, the Times doesn’t directly present it as a scandal. It points out how Edelman is transparent about its activities and even advises bloggers to be open. No, The Times is merely reporting how PR works. Only the object of this PR is the public, not the press. And some of these people, these bloggers, aren’t as slick as reporters in knowing how to deal with this.
So my first reponse is to help bloggers with advice.
If you write a post inspired by what you get from a company or its PR agent, say so. If you use facts or quotes from a company, politician, PR agent, or press release, say so (better yet, link to it). If you get anything from a PR agent — things, business meetings, social events — say so. Your public has a right to know where your information comes from so they can judge it accordingly.
And then you know what? You will be way ahead of the press.
It's good advice. Read the whole thing. And here are more thoughts worth reading:
This is by the way an important milestone for the blogosphere as it begins to take over the role of the MSM in informing people. We bloggers usually meet a higher standard of journalistic ethics than the MSM becuase we do, as a general rule, provide the links to the source material. This is our comeptitive advantage and combined with the fact that we tend to make no attempt to be impartial is a huge strength. Any reader should be able see what our sources and our biases are and if we are to be credible sources of news and informed comment we have to continue with that level of disclosure. However, having said that, this NY Times piece is in many ways another classic attempt at spreading FUD about the blogosphere. The intent is surely to tar all bloggers with the same brush, something that simply doesn't work and something that would be like bloggers tarring all MSM outlets as equally incompetent. The fact is that just as bloggers who make the latter smear find it tough to prove so the reverse MSM smear of the blogosphere is equally poor.
Read the whole thing here, too. And here's a different sort of "reprinting."
More on this story here.
And the final word here: "why is it every article about blogs must feature a quote from Glenn Reynolds, even if he has nothing to do with the story?"
I guess I have good PR!
Er, really good PR, apparently.