Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The "Push" Society

At what point do we have enough celebrities?

There's been a number of seemingly random things on my mind lately, but at the end of the day it comes down to this...

PR companies control the world.

As the media works with less and less time and resources, and under more and more deadlines (think constant real time blogging) you have to ask yourself, where do the stories they cover come from?

My fiancee recently an article in either the New Yorker and New York Magazine, I get them confused. It was about the "new" up and coming comedians. And so it had people on the cover that you've probably seen on Saturday Night Live and in bit parts in movies by ex-SNLers. Here's my thing, how did they find these "new" faces? Did they scour the comedy clubs and hold auditions? Or did they announce to agents, manager and PR types they were doing this, get flooded with headshots wrapped in chocolates and booze, and pick the most famous of the batch?

I don't think I'm media bashing. Journalists are just you and me with a certain job. What I'm questioning is, who does the leg work? Its like politicians who only listen to lobbyists - its a lot easier to do a very, very difficult job when someone else hands you an idea ready to market. A journalist who has constant deadlines all day long, limited resources, and bosses with no desire for them to be out of the office chasing down a hint of a story when they can slap a celebrity on the cover and sell some dead trees. Especially when those celebrities not only have a certain attraction to people, but they have a huge PR machine behind them trying to grow that attraction.

Contrast that to "internet celebrities." Every now and then you'll see a news story about an online hit, about how everyone is watching and downloading, and then you'll never hear about that person again. Why is that?

First of all, internet celebrities are a genre of news stories all to themselves. The idea of being a hit on the internet still has a cache of being hip - you know something that the unhip at work have never heard of. Plus, it plays nationally, even internationally, whereas a really great local band in Calgary won't interest anyone in Boston.

And second of all, you'll never hear of them again because there's no PR company picking up the phone and pitching a new angle to the journalist. No new angle - it ain't news, honey.

Now Saturday Night Live - they got all kinds of PR muscle behind them.

And me? All I got is a blog.

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