11/28/2006

The NSTA Scandal: A "Suggested" Blog Item

If you think your favorite bloggers choose what to write about purely based on what seems most interesting to them, or most important, or simply in response to what other bloggers are writing about, you may be sorely disappointed. More and more bloggers are posting about things that have been conveniently suggested to them by advocates, PR folks, and others.

Just tonight, for example, a nice guy named Jon from the NRDC working after hours sent me an email about a recent Washington Post opinion piece about "whether contributions from ExxonMobil, the American Petroleum Institute and others might be the reason that the [NSTA] turned down an offer for 50,000 free copies of the global warming film 'An Inconvenient Truth'."

In truth, I like being sent items, whether I use them or not. Some of the most interesting things I hear about come over the transom. And it's not like folks haven't been sending press releases to mainstream journalists for decades, influencing what gets covered and how. But I think it makes a difference if an item is something has been suggested. And if you ever read several blogs that seem to be covering the same topic for no particular reason, or wonder why a blogger is writing about something over and over again, remember it might not be just a coincidence.

3 Comments:

Blogger ed at aft said...

I blogged about it. And I didn't even get a lousy phone call. (Heck, NSTA didn't even call me back with their side of the story and I called them).

8:40 AM  
Blogger Margaret Paynich said...

Haha...I love how important blogging is to all of you! It's so inspiring.

I'm glad someone caught it because I bypassed the Outlook section of the Post b/c I saw the picture of the gun...I assumed it was about the opening of hunting season and all the debates that go along with it and didn't read it. I would have totally missed the NSTA story.

Or I suppose, it's a lesson to read the paper anyways....lol

11:46 AM  
Anonymous Jon at NRDC said...

Some of us PR guys even come *back* and read you again.

But seriously, folks:

At NRDC, at least, we try to send along only relevant, blog-worthy material. And we've long since learned that press releases are neither useful nor effective in this kind of venue.

In this case the item was also something that may have been missed in a turkey-induced holiday fog.

If it's professional rather than personal postings, we *always* make our affiliation clear up front. Doing business in the blogs without such ties would be unethical.

What happens once we do is entirely up to blogmasters and their readers. And if some people wind up taking potshots, that's a legit part of the conversation, too.

The original placement in the Post, by the way, was below the gun article margaret saw.

-- Jon the PR Guy

1:21 PM  

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