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Posts Tagged ‘The New Yorker’

More Changes for Condé Nast’s Communications Team

Conde Nast logoThis week brings more evidence that publishing giant Condé Nast is remaking its PR/communications team for the new year. Last month we reported on the departure of Maurie Perl: industry leading light, Barbara Walters confidant and veteran of such titles as Vanity Fair and The New Yorker.

Now we’ve learned of another big-name departure–and the arrival of some new blood.

Shannon Eis, who led internal and executive communications at Condé , left last week for a new role as senior vice president of corporate communications at top PR firm MMW. Eis previously worked as senior vice president at Kaplow Communications (and yes, she will continue making regular appearances on The Late Show With David Letterman as a parenting expert).

This week brings news that Patricia Röckenwagner has been named Condé Nast’s senior vice president of communications. Industry vet Röckenwagner previously served as senior VP of marketing and communications for McGraw-Hill Companies and corporate comms director at Paramount Pictures.

It would appear that Condé Nast is reshaping its communications team as part of a larger strategic shift. Expect more announcements to foll0w.

Big-Name Publicist Maurie Perl Leaving Condé Nast

Conde Naste vet Maurie PerlIn Industry Insider News, one of the New York media world’s biggest PR names has announced a major career change. Maurie Perl has a long history performing public relations work for some of the publishing industry’s best-regarded titles including Vanity Fair and The New Yorker.

Women’s Wear Daily goes so far as to call her “Condé Nast’s most powerful gatekeeper”; she spent more than two decades at the company performing PR duties for such names as David Remnick and Tina Brown and mentoring much of the industry’s younger talent. Before joining Condé Nast she worked at ABC News alongside Barbara Walters and others.

Brown says “She’s more than a publicist. She’s a consiglieri. No one can see all the angles like her”. Tough to find greater words of praise for anyone in the business.

Earlier this week an internal email revealed that Perl would be leaving as a result of Condé Nast’s decision to hire the Rubenstein agency for all media relations concerns. This move comes about because the company looks to further establish itself in “the scripted TV and feature films arenas”. Robert Green, executive producer of Huffington Post Live, will be the company’s new senior vice president.

No word on next steps for Perl, who has “no intention of retiring.”

Film Critics Give the Lowdown on Movie Reviews

Digital HollywoodFilm critics’ reviews remain both influential and controversial despite the magazine industry’s decline–but the review process has always been something of a mystery. Movie and celebrity publicists and others who wondered about the dynamics of film criticism got some clues during a panel at the Digital Hollywood conference in New York on Thursday.

Film critics from Entertainment Weekly, The New Yorker and Criticwire opened up about the impact of digital, their approach to film selection and the challenges they face. Here are our key takeaways:

In the current film review landscape, everyone’s a critic. Owen Gleiberman, film critic at Entertainment Weekly, expressed mixed feelings about the web’s impact. Overall, he said the internet has been a positive. “The practice of film criticism is energized by the outpouring of opinions on the web.” Still, he mentioned a big downside: “The web has led to a multiplicity of voices, but that breeds consensus thinking and it’s harder for any one voice to come through. There can be a pack mentality among critics.”

Digital shortens the review process. The increased prevalence of online movie reviews has added pressure to review films quickly. Critic Matt Singer of Criticwire said, “I attended a press screening last night but it’s tough to turn a review around overnight. It’s not like The New York Times restaurant review policy that requires four restaurant visits.” Gleiberman agreed, saying “There’s less time to mull movies over, and I want to nail my feelings about a film.”

Video on Demand/VOD expands movie distribution to wider audiences. “VOD is very important since it allows people from all over access to movies, including indie, foreign films and film festival movies,” emphasized Richard Brody, critic at The New Yorker.” VOD made niche films–previously released only in urban centers–easily accessible to viewers worldwide.

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K-Pop’s PR Push to Win the West

If you’re one of the 430 million people who watched PSY’s “Gangnam Style” on YouTube recently, you are probably both curious and confused by the international phenomenon known as K-Pop. You are not alone!

Luckily, John Seabrook of The New Yorker just published a fascinating article about the carefully choreographed process that fuels the fast-growing world of Korean pop music—and its top PR teams’ plans to win Western fans with their dizzying mix of contemporary production, eclectic stage shows and a shocking amount of plastic surgery.

South Korea’s top three entertainment PR firms have essentially come to run the K-Pop industry by adopting the British/American boy band business model…on steroids. And they’ve completely dominated the Asian music market by beating predecessor J-Pop at its own game and winning the Chinese public over with their bizarre videos and promo events.

Now music publisher and promoter SM Entertainment—whose Twitter profile reads “Follow us for 10 years, we’ll make you pretty and famous”—plans to take over the United States, one flashy tour at a time. Founder and former entertainer Lee Soo-man is often described as the creator and mastermind behind the K-Pop phenomenon who made good on his plans to recreate American pop for the Asian market, and he inspires conflicting emotions among fans.

The industry is hardly limited to music; K-Pop idols frequently star in ad campaigns, soap operas and feature films. There’s even a term, “hallyu”, for the incredible influx of South Korean culture that has blanketed the continent over the past decade, and the country’s government has aggressively promoted its distribution as a form of “soft power.”

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Strange PR Bedfellows: Scientology and The Nation of Islam

You may not have heard about The Church of Scientology opening a new “national affairs office” in Washington, DC’s historic Fraser Mansion last month. Small PR potatoes, right?

We would normally agree–but this week The New Republic published a fascinating story that caught our eye: It would appear that The Church and The Nation of Islam—which may well be our country’s two least favorite native religious groups—have decided to join hands in the interest of faith and public relations. It’s quite bizarre.

Some might say that Scientology is going through a bit of PR crisis right now. After Paul Haggis’s big 2011 New Yorker takedown, the church’s famous PR team seems to have slowed down a bit—they haven’t even truly responded to PT Anderson’s thinly-veiled L. Ron Hubbard film “The Master” or the inflammatory headlines that have appeared on gossip rags in the wake of the Tom Cruise/Katie Holmes split.

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Is ‘Micro-targeting’ the Key to Success in Politics and PR?

In this week’s The New Yorker, financial columnist James Surowiecki has a fascinating piece (thankfully available online for non-subscribers) about the science of political campaigning and, particularly, the revolutionizing of the political “ground game” through micro-targeting.

His central premise is this: until the late 90’s, political PR men had only one very blunt weapon–mass media communications. Flyers/mailers, TV attack ads and scripted phone calls were the only way to go. Now, however, technology has turned micro-targeting into an art. Campaign representatives use data drawn from “shopping habits, leisure activities, voting histories, charity donations, and so on” to identify and target two very specific groups of voters: Those who truly haven’t made up their minds and those who may need an extra push to make sure they get to the polls.  It is a never-ending process that is constantly being reviewed and refined.

Surowiecki’s most important point (and one we’ve noted before) is that TV ads are growing less and less effective—and that fact puts an even higher premium on micro-targeting and the simple act of knocking on doors and engaging potential voters in real-world conversations. Repeated surveys have found that the most personal messages are also the most effective. For example, “Just thanking people for having voted in the past significantly increases the chance that they’ll vote again.”

In this way, the evolution of campaigning mirrors changes in general PR practices.

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Tips on World Domination (from the Man Who Brought You Bieber)

Anyone with more than a passing interest in public relations and pop culture at large should take a look at The New Yorker‘s fascinating profile of Scooter Braun, a master media manipulator who may be the world’s most successful manager but describes himself as “a camp counselor for pop stars.”

His current claim to fame? An extremely profitable partnership with the world’s favorite pre-pubescent crooner, Justin Bieber.

In case you haven’t heard, Braun is a former Atlanta-based party promoter who worked with various area hip-hop stars and discovered Bieber while browsing YouTube for clips to help promote his biggest client at the time, singer Ne-Yo. After a bit of pleading with Bieber’s mother, he managed to persuade the two to relocate to the ATL and join forces with R&B veteran Usher. This move gave Bieber the credibility he needed to pass muster as a lily-white soul singer capable of reducing tween girls across the globe to incoherent screeches while simultaneously looking innocent enough to win parents’ approval.

Despite appearances, Bieber was not quite an overnight sensation, and the route he took to superstardom was anything but traditional.

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All-Star Cast Introduces ‘The New Yorker’ iPhone App

Another clever promo from those eggheads at The New Yorker: This meta-comedic short film directed by Lena Dunham (HBO‘s “Girls“) features the writer/actress/producer introducing the concepts of an iPhone, an app, and the magazine itself to charmingly oblivious talk show host Jon Hamm (“Mad Men“). The interview — like so many on late night talk shows — centers on Hamm showing a clip of Dunham’s “new film”, in which she portrays an exasperated New Yorker editor trying to explain the importance of the new app to a flustered assistant (played by fellow “Girls” regular Alex Karpovsky).

This isn’t the first time the magazine has used big-name actors and directors to get the word out about their digital ventures — for their 2010 iPad app launch, they released another comedic short film starring Jason Schwartzman and directed by Roman Coppola.

Source: Ad Age

‘Dragon Tattoo’ Director on Embargo Imbroglio: Films Succeed Through WOM

David Fincher, the director behind the upcoming Girl With the Dragon Tattoo film weighed in on the embargo imbroglio with The New Yorker‘s David Denby during an interview with the Miami Herald yesterday.

“…If it were up to me, I wouldn’t show movies to anybody before they were released. I wouldn’t give clips to talk shows. I would do one trailer and three television spots and let the chips fall where they may,” the story says (italics, theirs). “Ultimately, movies live or die by word of mouth anyway. All that other stuff doesn’t matter.”

An article on Slate kind of bolsters this argument.

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‘Dragon Tattoo’/'New Yorker’ Situation Shows Why Embargoes No Longer Work

Rooney Mara and Daniel Craig in David Fincher's 'The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo' Photo: Merrick Morton

Gasp! The New Yorker has broken an embargo on its review of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, the much-anticipated David Fincher version of the crazy-popular book by Stieg Larsson.

IndieWire has the email chain between New Yorker reviewer David Denby and the film’s producer Scott Rudin, which you can read here. Rudin also contacted other reviewers urging them to stick with the December 13th run date.

In a nutshell, the end of the year is crunch time for reporters on the movie beat because so many films come out at once in order to be considered for awards season. In an effort to fit everyone’s schedule, Dragon Tattoo was specially screened by the NY Film Critics Circle (Denby is a member) earlier this month with a December 13 embargo date. The New Yorker has decided to run its review today.

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