NPR, Lindsey Lohan, the New York Times, and Why I Can’t Believe Anything I Read

October 23, 2007 at 2:54 pm 1 comment

[FYI: Today’s post is YouTube heavy – Ed.]

So as not to simply piggy back the Pruple Cow‘s success, here’s a little story that must be told…

I have stopped listening to regular FM radio. I have had enough of Soulja Boy (hereforth known as the macarena), Timbaland, Timbaland, Timbaland, and Timbaland. The non-ranting reason is because I have heard these song enough times that I don’t want to hear them anymore. Because of this, I exclusively listen to my iPod or to NPR whilst in the car.

During the past week, they have been running a membership drive in order to fund the station. As one of their selling points, a reporter promised to bring us only the important news of the day, and maintain a “Lindsey-Lohan-free and Britney-Spears-free broadcast.” I had two immediate thoughts: 1) the sales pitch is that the listener-base will be kept ignorant of celebrity gossip; 2) is this what we’ve come to in journalism? – competition has to promise to NOT bring typical news?

Apparently, yes. (I said I would not SIMPLY piggyback on the Cow. This article is a COMPLEX piggyback.) Another article, ironically from the Times, regarding the issue.

I am fed up with press-as-PR posturing.

If a newspaper wants to earn some extra revenue by publishing a section of favorable reviews and fluff pieces, I’m ok with that. We all need to eat and those types of things can help pay the bills.

Where I have a problem is when I am being told (subversively or otherwise) that the reviews are news. If a journalist has stopped being objective, they are no longer reporting – they are reviewing. There is a market and a place for that, but it is not appropriate to try to fool consumers with those articles.

However I consume my news (radio, newspaper, t.v.), I don’t want to have to turn on my my b.s. detector. It’s not fair to me or to the people who don’t have b.s. detectors.

(And to anyone who’s a fan of Entertainment Tonight, Extra!, etc… everyone featured on the show has something to sell. It is not a coincidence that your favorite celebrity was shown coming out of the club with a new beau during the week of her movie release.)

While I am a fan of integrated marketing, there needs to be standards for journalism. If not, it becomes a slippery slope.

The sources that distribute the news are subject to criticism beyond editorializing. Marketing in journalism, without ethics, will impact the long-term success of all product. If a favorable review appears in the Yourfavorite Tribune, and the people using the product have a directly converse experience with the product, the end result is worse than the same person having the same experience with managed expectations.


Entry filed under: advertising, marketing, radio. Tags: , , , , , , , .

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1 Comment Add your own

  • […] NPR Continues Not To Deliver News, Listeners Rejoice February 5, 2008 at 3:53 pm | In marketing | Tags: long tail, npr, politics, radio, super tuesday A little while ago, I talked about how NPR was running a registration drive and part of their promise to listeners was to not deliver about Lohan, Spears, or any of that other gossip-style news.  (Read article here.) […]


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