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Brooke Binkowski Jan 4
I’m going to explain why you’re seeing what some washed up old singer thinks all over the place. The way promotional sausage is made isnt pretty, but I think more people should know the processes involved
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Brooke Binkowski Jan 4
Replying to @brooklynmarie
First though I'm going to make my limitations clear. I'm not a PR expert, I'm a journalist. I've done some PR writing over the years to pay the bills, but not in a long time. Even so, it was light marketing (wine tours, for example) and that's as deep as it goes for me.
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Brooke Binkowski Jan 4
Replying to @brooklynmarie
That means this is entirely from a journalism standpoint. I'm also not trying to shit on people who do PR or marketing work. I always, always respect the hustle. Now that I've made that clear, here's what the deal generally is when you see celebrities commenting randomly
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Brooke Binkowski Jan 4
Replying to @brooklynmarie
It's not random. It's a placement. That means a PR firm or agent will pitch an interview to a journalist, asking whether they would be interested in an interview. Often this can offer access to certain celebs that journalists wouldn't get otherwise.
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Brooke Binkowski Jan 4
Replying to @brooklynmarie
This is to get the public aware of and primed for whatever career moves or promotions that whatever celeb they're interviewing is trying to get traction on. It could be a new business, a new film, a new album, a TV show... you get the idea. It could also be a cross-promotion.
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Brooke Binkowski Jan 4
Replying to @brooklynmarie
It's usually transactional, too. You can ask them whatever you want (although sometimes certain celebrities will refuse to do an interview unless you agree not to cover specific topics), but in return you have to mention whatever it is they are trying to promote.
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Brooke Binkowski
You can see that sort of shoehorned in to some stories. "He made his comments at the opening of his new shop, where he plans to sell rebuilt watches." Others are subtler, but those mentions are always there... until the aggregator sites start to pick it up then all bets are off.
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Brooke Binkowski Jan 4
Replying to @brooklynmarie
A lot of celebrities are very camera friendly and interview friendly, especially when they've got something to promote, so if you just let them go on and on they'll eventually say some gems that are distillable into sound bites or quotes. If they say something especially juicy,
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Brooke Binkowski Jan 4
Replying to @brooklynmarie
the story leads with it. In fact, that makes it a better story because then the fact that they're shilling isn't so obvious. It's generally kind of a relief, unless you really think that whatever they're trying to promote is news in and of itself.
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Brooke Binkowski Jan 4
Replying to @brooklynmarie
I have a lot of my own examples of the latter. One was Herbie Hancock putting out a new album. He wanted to promote it and I wanted to hang out with Herbie fucking Hancock at his studio in Hollywood and talk to him about his new album and by God that's what I did. It was great.
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Brooke Binkowski Jan 4
Replying to @brooklynmarie
Another example is a little embarrassing. I didn't know who this dude was but he had a photography exhibit and a new book out. My boss sent me to go interview him and I love photography, so I went and chatted with him about it. Great interview, great photos, great guy.
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Brooke Binkowski Jan 4
Replying to @brooklynmarie
He was a mountain of a man with huge paws that swallowed up my own when I shook his hand and very warm and friendly. I was surprised that so many reporters showed up at this opening, but didn't ask any of them why because I was so busy talking to this cool dude about his work.
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Brooke Binkowski Jan 4
Replying to @brooklynmarie
After I filed my audio (I don't remember whether I actually wrote the story that night, this was many, many years ago) I told my boyfriend (who was also into photography) about this cool shooter I'd met at the museum. "Oh!" he said. "What's his name?"
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Brooke Binkowski Jan 4
Replying to @brooklynmarie
"Jeff Bridges," I answered. "Ever heard of him? He seems to do a lot of Hollywood-specific stuff." I thought my boyfriend was going to pass out. I hadn't owned a working TV in years and wasn't really big on movies back then, which is ridiculous because I was a Hollywood reporter.
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Brooke Binkowski Jan 4
Replying to @brooklynmarie
Those were both rare occasions though. Usually I would just have to traipse across town to interview some aspiring or passé celebrity to help them promote their, like, energy drinks or diet pills.
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Brooke Binkowski Jan 4
Replying to @brooklynmarie
In this case it looks like the actual story is that a certain washed up singer is cross-promoting a vegan restaurant and their PR team asked for a certain type or number of placements in national or international media and just let him loose. So that's why he's everywhere today.
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Brooke Binkowski Jan 4
Replying to @brooklynmarie
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Brooke Binkowski Jan 4
Replying to @brooklynmarie
As newsrooms shrink more and more, this has become a bigger and bigger force in the news you read. Finding stories takes time. You have to gain trust within the communities that you cover. Marketers and public relations flacks are a necessary shortcut. It's very common.
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Brooke Binkowski Jan 4
Replying to @brooklynmarie
This is the main reason I want to see newsrooms funded. It's not corporate control over what you read or see, but it's certainly influencing you. Strangely, I've never heard a single conspiracy theorist hit on the truth about how so many of these stories make it to print or air.
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Brooke Binkowski Jan 4
Replying to @brooklynmarie
Here's a good article I found about the process from a marketing perspective.
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Brooke Binkowski Jan 4
Replying to @brooklynmarie
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Brooke Binkowski Jan 4
Replying to @brooklynmarie
As you might be able to glean from what I'm saying, I don't like the practice at all. I don't like making concessions for access; I don't like being told what to do; I don't like other people shaping my news for me. But once you start noticing this, you'll see it's everywhere.
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Brooke Binkowski Jan 4
Replying to @brooklynmarie
My site does not engage in this practice. For one thing, it's a lot more difficult to do so from a disinformation perspective, and for another it's kind of a matter of principle for me now even though it's not always necessarily bad.
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