[linux-elitists] CNET: Another worm, more patches

Karsten M. Self kmself@ix.netcom.com
Tue Sep 25 00:13:40 PDT 2001


on Sun, Sep 23, 2001 at 03:01:27PM -0700, Rick Moen (rick@linuxmafia.com) wrote:
> begin  Jeff Waugh quotation:
>  
> > Have you considered that these press outlets may find it troublesome to
> > report these details in full? Have you considered that the reporters working
> > on these stories understand these details themselves?
> 
> Lengthy acquaintance with the press suggests that they overwhelmingly
> do _not_ understand those details themselves.  However, they are
> perfectly glad to cut and paste your feedback into their subsequent
> coverage, if it sounds coherent and plausible.  

Take this as both a blessing and a curse.

  - The press *will* quote you.

  - The press *will* quote you at your worst.

  - The press *will* quote you at your worst, then mangle or select from
    what you write to steer things to the story they wanted to write, not
    the story they found.

The lessons:

  - Write clearly and concisely.
  - Less is more.  They can't selectively edit if you don't give them
    enough to cut.
  - Don't rant or rave.

Realize too that there are members of the press who take their job
seriously, are sick of the PR hype, and want to crack a good story.  You
may be surprised to find that you can cultivate a relationship with
people out there.  Where trust develops, you can start treating a hack
as something approaching 3/5 a person.  The relationship has benefits
cutting both ways -- you have an outlet, and sometimes a research unit.
They have additional sources (reporters, real ones, live and die by
sources), and someone to gripe about the rottenness of the world with
over beer.

> Practically all of the technology press is driven by deadlines and the
> need to produce copy quickly.  

Use this to your advantage:  write what they can incorporate into copy.
They'll love you for it.  Especially if it doesn't read like a press
release.

> The reporters typically are not at all knowledgeable about software,
> and so have neither the time nor the expertise to apply critical
> thinking.  Instead, they mostly repeat what they have heard, and let
> their readers fight out their reactions in the letters column (thus
> providing more copy).  
> 
> If you want reporters to convey your perspective, play the game:  Form
> an "Open Source News Bureau" and publish press releases when there's a
> breaking story.  Soon, you'll be on the call-for-sound-bite list, just
> below Rob Enderle.

Linuxmafia, Media Relations:  "news you can't refuse"?

Peace.

-- 
Karsten M. Self <kmself@ix.netcom.com>        http://kmself.home.netcom.com/
 What part of "Gestalt" don't you understand?              Home of the brave
  http://gestalt-system.sourceforge.net/                    Land of the free
   Free Dmitry! Boycott Adobe! Repeal the DMCA!  http://www.freesklyarov.org
Geek for Hire                      http://kmself.home.netcom.com/resume.html
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