Chapter Seven: Power; 22 July
They have become filled with every kind of
wickedness, evil, greed and depravity.
They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice.
They are gossips,
|If It Bleeds It Leads|
You take a call from a reporter. Here’s how you will begin every encounter, “Hello Mr. Journalist from the main stream media, I’m glad you called. Am I a target or a source?”
If the reporter doesn’t laugh, you are in trouble.
Your Business Professor has had the misfortune of being both a target and a source. If you are a conservative or a capitalist you might be both—at the same time.
You, the CEO, might be the most powerful person in the company. You have the power to make and break careers inside the organization–and outside.
But do you have power over the press?
You can get your message placed in the popular press the old-fashioned way: buying it. You can purchase advertising space.
Or get interviewed.
You can extend the work and effectiveness of your company through the culture through journalists in the popular mainstream media. Even if your organization is large enough for a communications professional, the CEO is always the face and voice of the company. The CEO is the expert.
The real measure of your influence is in managing your relationships with those ink-stained wenches running the presses. Always volunteer to be a source, or a source of sources and pass-along the names of other experts. Journalists should be on your Christmas card list.
However, remember that in any conversation with a reporter you are either Richard Nixon, or Deep Throat — a target or a source. You.are.not.a.friend.
Say this aloud after me: “Not a friend.”
And it is difficult to determine the hidden agenda of your new, best non-friend reporter. But you can be prepared by knowing what kind of person is on the other end of the phone.
Chris Matthews, host of MSNBC’s Hardball, named his show after his first book (for which he received a well-deserved $75k book advance). Matthews tells us how most reporters get started in their careers.
Their entry-level jobs begin with covering the police blotter on the night shift. This is where journalists become inhuman.
The older reporters, back in the day before ubiquitous digital photos, had the most horrendous assignment on the planet. Whenever there was a tragedy — a death, dismemberment, anything that bleeds — the cub reporter was dispatched to the home of the grieving family.
He knocks on the door of the home of the dead one and secures a picture of the recently deceased from the crying mother/father/widow/spouse/sibling.
“I’m sorry about your dead daughter. Can I have a picture of your little girl for gawkers and trolls?”
Thank you for the picture. Have a nice day.
Three days later the girl’s face in the newspaper would look up from the bottom of a birdcage.
The reporter on the other end of the phone does this for a living. He does not care about you — only the story — the journalist soon becomes calloused and cynical. And looks for blood even if they have to do the cutting.
They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, Romans 1:29.