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Author: Paul Grimsley

Bad PR For Journalists

Don’t worry, I totally get the irony of talking about the degradation of journalism into opinion pieces and personal platforms for writer’s grievances in a piece that is primarily my opinion, and not necessarily sourced from anywhere. I studied as as a journalist and there were certain things that were great about the whole idea that I no longer see being practiced. You used to use the inverted triangle as a means of constructing the story so that all the salient data was early in the article. You used the impersonal voice and never the “I” to tell the story because the facts were more important than what you thought about it, and you used sources to strengthen your point, or to just report the facts. Journalists get a bad rap now, and people like Brian Williams do little to lessen the bad PR. Fox News very often drifts away from fact into opinion and what amounts to very lazy journalism. Journalists used to be heroes – Clark Kent, Peter Parker, Lois Lane in the fictional world, but they also had real world counterparts. Edward D. Murrow and his integrity in the McCarthy era, a time when being honest was not easy if you didn’t agree with the status quo, was an act of bravery. Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward, of All The President’s Men, helped uncover one of...

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Repackage, Reimagine, Reboot – The Movie As Pre-Chewed Food

The repackage, the reimagining, the reboot – never the rehash, the refried or the reheated. For every original franchise that makes it to the screens, or into print, there is an equal, if not greater number of established properties that undergo a periodic rebranding in order that the manufacturer / producer might sell more units. Without even a remake in sight, have a look online and see how many different formats of the Terminator films are available to buy; we are programmed by the hardware to buy things again that we already owned. The way the movies are made just latches onto this. The new films that are coming have Arnie in them, and they play creatively with the time-lines of the original movies as a backdrop, so they play for the old and new audiences at the same time. Who doesn’t want to watch these movies in the hope that they recapture some of the energy and innovation of the first two movies in the franchise? Superman has been rejigged more times than most if you include the comic books as well. The latest movie version has Henry Cavill as the titular Man Of Steel, and we are going to be seeing him alongside Ben Affleck’s Batman. Affleck’s Batman is seeking to reimagine the character as something different after Christian Bale’s iconic portrayal; which was a rethink of...

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The Matrix Has You: Advertising & The Film Industry

The PR machine for Jupiter Ascending, like most other Hollywood movies was pretty slick. The usual striptease slow reveal of all the choice delicacies from the movie was rolling out months before the movie even had a trailer out there, and it made you want to watch the film. It comes together in a number of ways – you have the stars out there doing countless interviews, with every single media outlet that you can think of sitting down in front of them and asking the same sort of questions in an endless stream. Facts about the star’s private lives leak out and put them front and center in the tabloids. The usual amount of relevant and irrelevant data makes it so you can barely ignore the clamor. This before you even really get a glimmer of what the movie is about. They start pinging the geek radars pretty early too, and it doesn’t matter how accurate the snippets of data are either … the whisper campaign soon starts to generate that much needed interest. Talk of how this might compare to past efforts by the makers of the film starts early too, and again, it doesn’t matter how accurate any of it is – just the fact that people are talking about it means people are going to get really interested in it. And then the trailers come...

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Ello Vs. Facebook: A Simpler Aesthetic

Facebook does what it does pretty well, and it seems to, on the whole, be holding its ground a lot better than Myspace managed to. Livejournal is a cul-de-sac for nostalgia addicts; Plurk is a niche; some of the PHP forums are haunted by troglodytes who can just about bash out their name on a keyboard; and a whole host of other sites which tried to be Facebook without being Facebook have ended up in the graveyard of not-even-nearly-rans or interesting data-peaks on some siloed internet traffic metric. So, what does Ello have to offer? Simple, beautiful and ad-free:...

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Under Fire For Imaginary Grenades – Brian Williams & Iraq

What a PR disaster for a news anchor – to be found to have “misremembered” as he termed it, an event where he claimed to have been in a helicopter that was hit by a grenade in Iraq. Brian Williams, who is one of the faces of NBC’s Nightly News program has become the butt of a whole series of jokes since the revelation that what he had reported was not just grossly inaccurate, but never actually happened. Of course, with anything like this there is a degree of hysteria in the attacks, but claiming to have gone through something like this is basically an insult to any veterans who genuinely experienced such incidents. Misremembered is not a word that really holds any water either – how do you get confused about whether you experienced a grenade hitting your chopper? It’s not going to be easy to outrun the furor, and the lack of trust in his reporting skills that this has already caused. To be a good news anchor, as well as your skills in delivering news and reporting on events, you have to be credible. This problem is going to affect how people feel about anything he says, and if the network stands behind him it will affect their credibility too. the lack of fact-checking is also something that is going to be scrutinized – if NBC...

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