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Posts Tagged ‘New Yorker’

The New Yorker PR Director Leaves for Facebook

AlexaCOn Friday Capital New York reported that Alexa Cassanos, a communications veteran who has spent nearly seven years at The New Yorker and currently serves as the publication’s senior director of PR, will leave next month for a spot on the Facebook roster.

Cassanos has an extensive history in PR at some of the biggest names in New York City’s print publishing world.

After nearly a decade at Random House, she held top positions at both Conde Nast and Bon Appetit before joining The New Yorker in 2007.

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Scandal du Jour: Plagiarism!

The Words” is a new film starring everyone’s favorite faux Frenchman, Bradley Cooper. Its plot, as we understand it, revolves around the concept of author as plagiarist–and while we can’t exactly recommend the movie based on its critical reception, we thought we’d use this opportunity (and the emergence of another small-scale plagiarism story) to examine parallel scandals that engaged the chattering classes this summer: the public trials of Jonah Lehrer and Fareed Zakaria.

Seems like everyone is copying the work of others these days–even noted wordsmith Chuck Norris has been caught red-handed. The two men at the center of this hot topic are very different personalities—and both the charges leveled against them and the public’s reaction to their respective PR crises have been very different as well. Fareed Zakaria is a respected journalist and TV news personality while Jonah Lehrer is (or, more accurately, was) a rising writer, speaker, and acknowledged expert in the realms of neurology and human behavior.

What, exactly, did they do?

Zakaria copied a paragraph of a Time article on gun control from an earlier New Yorker piece by historian Jill Lepore. CNN also found that one of his blog posts for CNN.com “contained similar unattributed quotes.” When accused of other acts of sloppy journalism, he lashed out at critics before backing down.

Lehrer’s first crime was plagiarizing himself—observers discovered that he often repeated passages that had appeared in previous columns or books. While this was bad news for Lehrer, it wasn’t necessarily the end of the world. Unfortunately, further investigations uncovered a disturbing history of similar behavior during his time at Wired and other publications. And that wasn’t the worst of it: The final, damning revelation was the fact that Lehrer had straight-up invented nonexistent Bob Dylan quotes for his bestselling book “Imagine”—and when pressed on his offense, he denied it and made more false claims before breaking down and confessing to his own dishonesty.

The saddest part about these stories is that both writers remain very talented, very busy men who obviously bit off more than they could chew. What conclusions can we, as PR and media professionals, draw from their cases?

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Nikke Finke on New Yorker Profile: Story “Manipulated By Hollywood”

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Is Nikke Finke Hollywood’s most powerful scribe? Certainly many in the industry seem to think so, and she has been the center of feature stories in both The New York Times, and now The New Yorker, whose sub-head today reads: “Why Hollywood fears Nikki Finke.”

Her Deadline Hollywood Daily blog has become Hollywood’s “most dreaded news source,” as executives fear being labeled “one of the most kiss-ass incompetents to run an entertainment company,” as Finke once described NBC Universal C.E.O. and president Jeff Zucker.

It’s not surprising that there was a lot of PR influence in her New Yorker feature. Says Finke:

…I wasn’t the only one able to knock out a lot of negative stuff in the article without even one lawyer letter, email, or phone call. I witnessed how The New Yorker really bent over for Hollywood. NYC power publicist Steven Rubenstein succeeded in deleting every reference to Paramount’s Brad Grey. Warner Bros and Universal and DreamWorks and William Morris/Endeavor and Summit Entertainment execs and flacks and consultants also had their way with the mag. (They were even laughing about it. When I asked one PR person what it took to convince Tad to take out whole portions of the article, the response was, “I swallowed.”)

While Finke’s response may be entertaining, our question is: What story, especially a feature story of this caliber isn’t manipulated in some way? Read the full New Yorker profile here, and Finke’s response here.