1. Why did you write American Spin? American Spin explores what lies beneath news gathering, news reporting, and brings to the forefront the economic realities that shape the news you hear, see, or read every day. As a seasoned P.R. professional, it is my mission to educate people about how Spin is made. American Spin is meant to empower people so they can effectively communicate their own stories to the world.
2. So what does the American public need to know about how promoters really sell U.S. products, companies, politicians, and issues? The primary tool used in P.R. is spin. Spin is the best way to take complex information and distill it into a platform that can be quickly communicated to the audience. Although spin makes it possible to convey complex information quickly, more importantly, it also increases the likelihood that your audience will understand your information. If we didn’t utilize spin as a great communications tool, we would not be able to tell stories that are timely, compelling, and memorable. And most important of all, good spin will get an audience to take some sort of action: buy, sell, vote, give up using plastic bags, support gay marriage, or get the green light for a new corporate project. Without spin we wouldn’t be able to get people to take action.
3. You say we are living in a Content Bubble. What do you mean by that? On all fronts in every sector, there are multitudes of media voices all shouting at the same time. There is a bottleneck of media clogged with a backlog of unviewed email, books, articles, posts, tweets, mentions, texts, photos, and videos. While news is transmitted rapidly, it is disseminated though what appear to be many discordant and competing outlets. One person might get his news from TV and another from Twitter or the radio or The New York Times or a regional daily newspaper. There is no single trusted news authority. Pew Internet shows 84 percent of Facebook news feed stories aren’t viewed, 71 percent of tweets get ignored, and 88 percent of emails go unopened. As a result of the Content Bubble, the transmission of information, even if it is important and merits our attention, can be ignored. Everyone is overwhelmed by the Content Bubble. People cannot keep up.
4. What is wrong with the media today? There is also a power struggle taking place among media heavyweights who are jockeying to control the media. Media “moguls” like Rupert Murdoch (and his heir apparent Lachlan Murdoch) , Mort Zuckerman, the Dolan family, and Jeff Bezos are intent on dominating media the same way the big industrialists dominated the railroads at the beginning of the last century. Who will live and who will die? Only time will tell. Top-tier media outlets like NBC’s The Today Show and The New York Times are feeling the stranglehold and keep struggling for new ways to reinvent themselves to increase eyeballs and advertising revenue. There is so much competition no one can get market share. The Press is vying for market share by posting the most sensational, attention-grabbing headlines—often Yellow Journalism. If you are not sure what yellow journalism is, pop online to cnn.com and scan the first five stories, and you will see headlines that are sensational, slightly hysterical, and a distorted presentation of the facts. Many media outlets are just looking at the numbers—revenue and traffic—and not necessarily at the quality of journalism.
5. How do we know your book isn't just more spin? American Spin is good spin because it’s the truth.
6. What are the secrets to understanding the spinmeisters' messaging? Do reverse engineering on every news story to see who paid to get it placed. Positive spin or negative spin? It’s always a matter of positioning—the facts that were told and the facts that were left out. Most news stories seem as though they’re balanced and tell all sides of a story, but if you examine any news story, you will see there is always a definite slant. In everything you read, everything you hear, and everything you see, ask yourself: Who is the source? What is the source trying to accomplish? Is the source looking for a come up? Or is the source trying to bring someone down? We are inundated with so much clutter that our attention span flickers and we scan news accepting the basic facts as the truth. Always keep in mind, the press doesn’t necessarily lie, but it is never required to tell the whole truth.
7. Is the nature of PR corrupt or is its practitioners that are unethical it is it the people and companies seeking publicity that are really the dirty, evil liars that are causing problems for society? At the heart of good spin, you will always find the truth. And the best manipulative device is often the truth. So there isn’t anything inherently wrong with spin; it is neither right nor wrong, good or bad, moral or immoral. Everyone is obliged to conduct effective P.R. Becoming savvy about P.R. and utilizing P.R. tools has become critical due to our dependence on technology and the speed in which information is communicated. P.R. is now much more than media relations or community-building. In the new world order, P.R. has become an art form that strategically creates spin in order to get your message to your desired target audience.
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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2015
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