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Posts Tagged ‘Mike Allen’

Politico, Burson-Marsteller Discuss the Future of Journalism

In a perfect world, would the answer to the question “What does the future of journalism look like?” include the word “Politico?”

We’re not sure as we don’t live in a perfect world. But this related conversation between King of Poli-Blogs Mike Allen, Burson-Marsteller’s Worldwide Chair/CEO Don Baer and Alan Murray of the Pew Research Center is still interesting, particularly in the wake of White House “TV Whisperer” Dag Vega’s move from politics to corporate PR. A couple of key quotes from Baer:

“The vast majority of journalists and news organizations still think of themselves as content producers…I think you’ve got to turn that upside down and say ‘what service am I providing you, the reader?’”

And Murray:

“Being provocative to the point of being hostile gets you noticed.”

While we certainly don’t disagree with Murray, we have to wonder whether this is really a good thing (if it means Kara Swisher being bolder in her reporting, then yes. If it means more hyper-partisan op-eds, then no). And if you speculated as to whether political coverage would, in general, grow more or less partisan in coming years, this interview serves as an unfortunately definitive “yes.”

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Politico Defends Its Own Pay-to-Play Publicity Game as ‘Transparent’

Carousel_MP_POLITICO_sign_v6_960_481_40In the year’s most “Inside Baseball” story, Erik Wemple of The Washington Post claimed that the popular D.C. “Playbook” email newsletter published by Mike Allen of Politico basically amounts to a bunch of reprinted press releases.

Want your business to earn positive press in a thread read by thousands of political insiders? No problem—just fork up $35,000 to spend a week sponsoring the newsletter and Allen will make sure to mention you in a completely uncritical way. He might even bring your name up later in order to highlight your own publicity campaigns and link to your PSA-style videos because he’s such a nice guy.

This isn’t a completely new story, BTW: back in 2010 this blog reported on the ease with which one may be featured in the site’s fluffier “Click” section.

When Wemple’s report surfaced, Politico CEO John VandeHei called it “nonsense”—and Howard Kurtz gave editor-in-chief John Harris an opportunity to elaborate on that statement on his Fox News show this week.

Harris’ defense was a bit…garbled.

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Politico’s Mike Allen Will Reprint Your Press Release for Money

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A small bomb hit the political media world yesterday when Erik Wemple of The Washington Post insinuated that the very popular “Playbook” email newsletter, written by Mike Allen of Politico, is more a native advertising venture than a news ticker. If you want positive coverage, you just need to pay for it.

The newsletter has always accepted money from sponsors, with advertisers paying $35,000 for a weeklong promo run. The point of Wemple’s reveal is how closely the “editorial” content resembles the “paid” content. Allen is, essentially, reprinting certain advertisers’ press releases by giving hands-off coverage to their PR work. Case in point: Allen reported BP’s post-oil spill damage control campaign as news and linked to a PDF of the company’s print ad. He later linked to a video spot, and Wemple strongly implies that Allen’s friendship with BP execs facilitated this coverage (for which Politico did not charge).

The newsletter also consistently quotes press releases from regular sponsors like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, writing things like:

Ahead of tax day, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce promotes its agenda for tax reform: “Renew all expiring tax rates and incentives right away. … Stop threatening small businesses with higher taxes”

The average Joe on the street will understandably say “of course the media is biased and politics is a pay-to-play game” while shrugging his shoulders at this story, but it’s big news to anyone who does PR in DC. The money quote after the jump:

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Iowa Caucus Shows that Negative is the Way to Go

Image: Reuters

Just when you thought 2012 couldn’t get any better, it’s Iowa caucus day. As MSNBC’s First Read blog notes, turnout is everything in these political matters. And the candidates are doing everything they can to make sure the votes come in, like physically transporting people to polling sites so they can cast their votes.

The Ron Paul and Rick Perry campaigns are providing voters with transportation, and Mitt Romney’s camp is providing transportation “for special circumstances.”

But before voters can get to the polling locations, the candidates, unfortunately for them, had a few more days to make their cases.

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Politico’s Allen: ‘The Challenge is Breaking Through the White Noise’

A still from yesterday's event. From left: Mike Allen, Karen Hughes, Don Baer, and Pat Mitchell

During the Paley Center for Media’s International Council forum on digital media and politics in New York on Wednesday, Mike Allen, chief political correspondent for Politico, discussed the current explosion of media coverage.

“Now there is no place that everyone automatically goes for news. In the new world, all media outlets face the nightclub conundrum – when they’re hot, everyone goes there. Politico needs to make sure we don’t end up like Studio 54,” he said.

The panel was moderated by Pat Mitchell, president and CEO of the Paley Center for Media, and the other panelists included Don Baer and Karen Hughes, both worldwide vice chairs at Burson-Marsteller and former presidential communications advisers, for Clinton and Bush respectively.

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Gibbs May Be Considering a Move to Top DNC Post?

Talk of White House press secretary Robert Gibbs‘ departure continues, fueled by Gibbs’ statement (or lack of statement) yesterday about a possible move to chairman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC).

“I love my job,” Gibbs is quoted saying in The Hill. Still, he wouldn’t say that he would rule out a move when pressed and saying nothing is tantamount to saying something. The current chairman is former Virginia governor Tim Kaine.

Over the weekend, Politico columnist Mike Allen gave his short list to succeed Gibbs in his Playbook column (in alphabetical order): Bill Burton, Jay Carney, P.J. Crowley, Stephanie Cutter, and Geoff Morrell. Dee Dee Myers, former Clinton press secretary and current Glover Park Group MD, is also predicting Burton will be next in the role.

[Image via NYTimes.com]

PR Pros: Pitch Politico Anything, They’ll Take It

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While the homepage of Politico.com and Mike Allen‘s “Playbook” column are must reads for Washington D.C. political insiders, the “Click” section of the publication’s website, which features lifestyle and other random items of note, is easy to get featured on.

Take a story published today titled, “Ben Marter’s Home Cooked Weekend.” The story features Ben Marter, communications director for Rep. Betsy Markey. Here’s how it begins:

Ben Marter spent most of last week working late and eating out. So, this weekend, the communications director for Rep. Betsy Markey was craving some home-cooking.

Who cooked? He did.

We asked Marter–who enjoys playing the role of the sometimes-chef–what showed up on his dietary dossier this weekend.

On Friday night, at home with his girlfriend, Marter cooked up a spicy chicken stir-fry with broccoli, cabbage, mushrooms, green beans, peanuts and onions, and seasoned with with ginger and lemongrass.

“I recommend it,” he said.

The story goes on to state how Marter also enjoyed frozen yogurt and Boboli Pizza. So there you have it PR pros: pitch Politico’s “Click” when you’re looking to get a quick hit.

CBS News Producer Leaving To Run PR For Tech Startup Polyvore

JYuille.jpgJen Yuille, political producer for Katie Couric for the past three years, is “leaving CBS News and joining a Silicon Valley startup, Polyvore, a social shopping site led by Google and Yahoo veterans,” reports Politico’s Mike Allen.

Yuille will join as head of marketing communications and public affairs, effective June 21, 2010. She joined move to CBS from MSNBC/NBC in October 2007.

UPDATE: After the jump, the internal memo from Polyvore CEO Sukhinder Singh Cassidy announcing the news.

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Gulf Coast Spill: Top Government Official To Begin Daily Media Briefings Today

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Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen, the national incident commander for the massive BP Gulf Coast oil leak, will begin daily media briefings today.

“The idea is to give the government’s response a reassuring, authoritative face. The new plan is designed to send a clearer signal of control than was possible when various Cabinet secretaries were serving as the spokesperson du jour, or when rotating government officials were appearing next to BP executives,” Politico’s Mike Allen reports.

Meanwhile, the White House dispatched Carol Browner, director of the White House Office of Energy and Climate Change Policy, to appear on the national morning shows today. Video of Browner’s “Good Morning America” interview after the jump.

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Clinton White House Vet Laura Burton Capps Joins Blue Engine Message & Media

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Laura Burton Capps, a veteran of the Clinton White House, Kerry presidential campaign and Senator Edward M. Kennedy’s staff, is joining Blue Engine Message & Media, a strategic communications firm led by Erik Smith and Kathy Roeder, Politico’s Mike Allen reports.

Blue Engine Message & Media was formed in 2006. Perhaps Burton Capps is filling the role of BEM & M staff member Miti Sathe, who is joining the White House in the Office of Public Engagement.

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