PR Didn’t Get the Memo That Killed Exclusives

    February 15, 2006

I though the above picture, which I shot last month in Florida, is apropos as a preface for the following.

There’s a lot of discussion today on memeorandum that the media exclusive is dead. That’s absolute nonsense. Scoble sounds downright gleeful that it’s “dying.” In fact, he’s calling for a Sarbanes Oxley-like approach where everyone gets the news at the same time.

That argument doesn’t make any sense. Does everyone get access to Microsoft beta products at the same time too? How come we all can’t try some of the betas or Windows Vista today? There’s a Utopian thinking that now persists. Blogging has created a small contigency of people who think that everything should be open to everyone at the same time.

Exclusives are not dying. In fact, they are more important than ever. Journalists who used to worry about getting scooped by the competition are now sweating even more bullets. They have to with 28 million bloggers on the beat. This means everyone is looking for a leg up. This is where PR comes in. Like it or not, we possess information before it becomes public and can place stories in the venues that we feel are most strategic.

So is this wrong? Absolutely not. It’s called marketing. It’s called bunting the ball down the line to where it’s supposed to go. Has citizen journalism changed the exclusive? Sure, we now have many more options, including micro outlets that are extremely targeted. And, yes, it’s tougher to keep something locked down – especially when bloggers are involved. But I can’t buy that media exclusives or embargoes are dead by a long shot. Talk to anyone who does PR outside of tech and see what they say.

Steve Rubel is a PR strategist with nearly 16 years of public relations, marketing, journalism and communications experience. He currently serves as a Senior Vice President with Edelman, the largest independent global PR firm.

He authors the Micro Persuasion weblog, which tracks how blogs and participatory journalism are changing the public relations practice.