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Posts Tagged ‘Hamilton Nolan’

Gawker Finally Asks Whether ‘PR People Deserve Our Sympathy’

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Gawker’s Hamilton Nolan–who joined the outlet after a stint as a reporter at PR Week–has some opinions about the communications industry. Some “unvarnished (and sometimes mean)” opinions.

Today Nolan makes his perspective on the practice clearer than before. His post asks the headlining question in response to a story in proletarian pub Jacobin arguing that some journalists’ tendency to hate on PR is both a class and gender issue and that writers should be more sympathetic regarding the work that professional communicators do.

His basic conclusion:

“Do PR people deserve our sympathy? Yes. Does the PR industry deserve our sympathy? No. “

There’s more if you want to take your bitter, bitter medicine.

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Target CMO’s Response to Gawker: #PRWin?

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In case you missed it, this week Target‘s CMO Jeff Jones took the (relatively) bold step of responding directly to an anonymous employee’s complaint that scored coverage on Gawker, that bastion of objective reporting on the business world.

He did it in a LinkedIn “influencer” post with the blunt title “The Truth Hurts“, and it got a lot of attention: a quarter of a million views and several thousand likes/shares.

In an interview with AdAge that went live last night, he explained why he decided to address the problem in this way–which gives us an opportunity ask whether the strategy worked.

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Cyberattack Suit Against 5W’s Torossian Proceeds

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According to our hometown Daily News, the recent cyber-libel suit filed against 5WPR founder/HuffPo blogger Ronn Torossian—no stranger to news coverage or lawsuits—is “heating up in [New York State Supreme] court.”

(Love the “Ronn is being suedd” lede, BTW.)

New York businessman Dror Zoreff filed the $15 million suit in November, alleging that Torossian “posted false stories on a slew of message boards” calling him various names like fraud, “con artist” , et cetera. Here’s the development the News calls “scorching” via Zoreff attorney Richard G. Haddad:

“On Jan. 7, Torossian agreed in court to stop issuing false and defamatory statements about Mr. Zoreff and to immediately remove from the Internet all false statements.”

Looks like we’re headed for a jury trial. There’s a bit more…

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Don’t Try to Pay Gawker to Place Your Clients’ Links

shutterstock_123477490-1Former PR professional and reigning purveyor of righteous indignation Hamilton Nolan has a message for “stealth” marketing firms: how dumb are you, again?

In short, an agency specializing in SEO sent him a series of emails “bribing” him to insert clients’ links into his totally unrelated Gawker posts in order to push their names up higher in Google search results.

This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to anyone, but we are a little shocked by the marketer’s insistence and his willingness to provide links to clients’ content when he should have known right away that Nolan would shame him in public by reprinting all of his emails.

Of course PR would never do such a thing, because it’s strictly the domain of “shady” marketing firms and we have ethics. But this would technically qualify as paid media…

We wonder about the real-world value of links placed in posts like this one, which just happens to be a helpful list of marketing tips that somehow did not include our wise headline.

Was $80 really the best they could do? Nick Denton should take that offer as a personal insult.

Gossip Writers: Social Media Made Celebrity Image Management Easier Than Ever

i.2.scandal-manual-gossip(George) Rush and (Joanna) Malloy were two of America’s best known old-school gossip columnists, but they decided to call it quits three years ago? Why?

In a complaint that will sound familiar to every journalist everywhere, they say they’d had it with celebs’ newfound ability to manage their images more effectively with social media, thereby reducing the value of the honest-to-goodness journalists who write regular columns in print (even if those columns are all about drug addictions and affairs and other gutter-hugging topics).

Oh, and they wanted to write a book that they then promoted with this Vanity Fair interview.

Some quotes:

“Keeping up with the Kardashians and other reality stars became nauseating. More and more, celebs were able to use social media to sidestep the columns, and most of the traditional media. They could spin their own version of the truth.”

“If I wanted to go into marketing, I would have gone to business school.”

In other words, celebrity news and marketing are now one and the same—right, Kim?

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Is ‘$100 PR’ For Real?

Yesterday Gawker‘s Hamilton Nolan took the opportunity to give free press to a barely believable project called “$100 PR“–and to provide our entire industry with a bit of good-natured ribbing. While we dispute the idea that the business at large is “desperate for money”, we agree that $100 PR warrants another look.

Created by Laurena Marrone, a PR pro “with over 20 years of diverse experience” that appears to include a lot of music promo work (and the founding of Grit), this “new and extremely unique boutique” firm claims to serve “those who have a need to get the word out about any newsworthy product, service, or event, but cannot afford the high costs of most firms”. Hmm…

According to this guy, $100 PR gives clients “professional PR for your artist, event or venue for 100 bucks”. $100′s own description of its services is fairly straightforward. They include:

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New York Times Layoffs Underway; Speculation Ensues

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The New York Times is in the midst of finalizing the layoffs of 100 newsroom employees. New York magazine has a partial list of those laid off, and reports 74 employees took buyouts, leaving 26 spots for management to cut.

As usual, the Times is not commenting on personnel mattes. Per the following email sent by Times Executive Director of Community Affairs and Media Relations Diane McNulty to Gawker’s Hamilton Nolan:

Hamilton,

As you know, The Times does not and will not discuss personnel matters, nor reveal any names or numbers relating to the current staff reduction. As a result, The Times cannot and will not comment on the list of specific names you picked up from NY Magazine, except to say the list is in error, as is the information you posted about our blogs. There have been no decisions about shutting down either of those blogs.

Thanks,
Diane

From a PR perspective, would the Times be better off just putting the list out there to end speculation, or are there legal or other reasons for them not doing so? “It’s unethical to release the names of people you laid off, and most companies recognize that,” one PR executive familiar with the Times told PRNewser.

Regardless of HR practices, “it’s not fair to anyone who’s being laid off to have the company announce that,” they said. Another PR exec said that the responsibility for getting the world out falls on the journalist, “to let people know they are on the market.”

Another option would be to “ask the employees if they’d like their names to be released…you know other people are going to report on it anyhow,” said one reporter.

When BusinessWeek recently announced layoffs in conjunction with their acquisition, many laid off reporters announced the news via Twitter. So far, we haven’t seen that happen with the Times.

The New York Times Picks Up Gawker’s Mark Penn/WSJ Story

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The Times digs in to on Gawker’s story by Hamilton Nolan about Burson-Marsteller using CEO Mark Penn‘s Wall Street Journal column to directly drum up new business for the agency, and secures what Nolan could not. A statement from Penn himself:

In a statement, Mr. Penn, who declined to be interviewed, said that he had not seen the message until after it was sent, and that “nothing was done nor likely to be done as a result of it.” He said that none of the companies mentioned in his column were Burson-Marsteller clients.

“I had no business motive in writing it whatsoever,” he said. But, he added, “We will continue to distribute the columns to friends and clients alike, and assured The Journal they will not be tied to any specific marketing efforts.”

We do agree with WSJ spokesman Robert H. Christie, who told the Times, “the reality is that freelancers do use their columns as ways of marketing themselves.” However it is telling that when asked to elaborate if The Journal was comfortable with this practice, Christie declined to respond.

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Gawker Pitches a Tent Over Mark Penn, Again

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Gawker obtained an internal Burson-Marsteller email that plainly asks senior management to use CEO Mark Penn’s latest Wall Street Journal “Microtrends” column as a marketing tool to pitch potential clients.

This particular column was about “Glamping,” i.e. glamorous camping. BM EVP and former Bill Clinton speechwriter Josh Gottheimer sent an email to the very top people suggesting they use the column as an excuse to call the national campground association, Coleman, “or emi ll beam etc.” and set up meetings for “mjp.” I assume he meant L.L. Bean, and either REI or EMS.

Illustrating what I call the “Denton Model” of blogging, former PRWeek reporter Hamilton Nolan weaves solid reporting with a full-dredge of all negative news Penn has been involved in, most notably his being spun out of the Hillary Clinton campaign for conflicts of interest. Once you’re in Gawker’s crosshairs, you can’t get out.

Business development is a bare knuckle game so we can’t really fault Gottheimer’s tactic. Nolan also takes a shot at Dow Jones and their Code of Ethics, and makes a stronger a point about the business of these softer trend op-eds.

What never fails to surprise me about these emails though, is the needless typos and errors for the sake of looking really, really busy. It’s better to be clear.

Ari Fleisher, Proud to Testify on Torture if Subpoenaed

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[Panelists Josh Rushing, Ari Fleischer, and Tina Brown, with moderator Gideon Yago. Photo by Diane Bondareff/IFC via VanityFair.com]

President Georg Bush #43′s Press Secretary #1 (of 4) Ari Fleisher continued to toe his Administration’s line yesterday during a panel discussion to promote the IFC Media Project at the Paley Center for Media.

He was baited in to defending the steps taken that led to the rebranding of torture–i.e. extreme interrogation–by a “daydreaming” Peggy Noonan. Stating the obvious that no one likes to receive a subpoena, Fleisher said “I’ll be proud to testify if I get a subpoena. I’m proud of what we did to protect this country.”

Hamilton Nolan from Gawker held no love for Fleisher or Noonan, and noted the irony of the former Press Sec’s grade of “C” given to the Obama administration for transparency.

Attention reps both Tina Brown‘s Daily Beast, and the IFC.

Related: Ari Fleischer’s Bizarre Revisionist History on Hardball