The Bulldog Reporter, a publication that specializes in compiling dossiers on journalists for corporate PR use, has given its "gold award" in "crisis communications" to Michael Fineman of Fineman Associates Public Relations for his work on behalf of the Pacifica radio network. Fineman was hired to help contain the image problems that arose when the Pacifica's management used armed guards to forcibly expel veteran broadcasters, arrested demonstrators, and shut down station KPFA in Berkeley, CA.
Emerging evidence suggests that media coverage of medicine is increasingly promotional in nature. Recent Australian examples include misleading newspaper articles on an experimental cancer vaccine and a high profile television current affairs segment on a new influenza drug, which failed to disclose the industry ties of a key expert featured in the report.
By understanding the interaction between news coverage and advertising on consumer perceptions, large companies hope to develop more effective and less costly communications plans. This report takes some first steps toward understanding that relationship. This paper is based upon research conducted in the late 1990's by AT&T's Public Relations research department.
The Pacifica radio network has been known for decades as the home of "listener-sponsored free speech radio." That has changed, however, following the network's "Christmas coup" in December 2000, when workers at Pacifica's New York City station, WBAI, were fired and banned from the station. Since then, the situation has gone from bad to worse, with the station imposing a "dirty laundry rule" that threatens employees and volunteers with disciplinary action if they discuss the Pacifica crisis on-air.
The old 30 and 60 second ads we know and love may be obsolete in the future, thanks to the miracle of product placement. We've all seen lingering, seductive shots of consumer products in movies...and in the future, "you probably won't know where the commercial stops and the programs begin," says Bob Kuperman, President of New York ad agency TBWA.