Monday, March 10, 2008

Chron edit page editor gives tips to PR types

"In my experience, the public figures who consistently get positive media attention practice what I call "the three A's" - accessible, accurate and articulate," says John Diaz, editor of the Chron's editorial pages. He points out that Hillary Clinton "hasn't done herself any favors with her rationing of accessibility. If you want to challenge the narrative that you're inauthentic and a control freak, well, a good start would be to make yourself more available to journalists' questions."


Anonymous said...

it also helps if you're as liberal as the chronicle

Robert B. Livingston said...

This viewpoint, intended as practical advice, smacks me as a glib and self-congratulatory rationalization for shoddy journalism. (I might be kinder had I not in mind the routine standards the San Francisco Chronicle upholds when reporting and, more often, not reporting on an array of political subjects.)

It reinforces my growing belief that some journalists (especially in the establishment media) think of themselves as de facto gatekeepers who exchange positive press to public figures who give them the "proper" tribute.

And if the proper tribute (access, accuracy, articulateness... and what else?) is not forthcoming to the degree demanded-- one wonders, do those public figures deserve a proportional degree of negative press?

And how exactly is accuracy determined or interpreted? The Oracle of Delphi was accurate.

What ever happened to expecting journalists to seek out stories that don't come gift-wrapped? To expecting journalists to intelligently discern truth from untidy facts? To expecting journalists to articulate for the inarticulate?

Are we to conclude that when public figures get poor coverage-- it was their fault for failing to live up to Diaz's 3 As?

Once upon a time, it seems, news was a nobler endeavor than promotion.

Anonymous said...

the 3As don't exist in most newsrooms i've worked in ... the chronicle is known for its lazy reporters and editors, who expect to have their stories handed to them by PR flaks ...

look at any matier & ross column ... it doesn't take a genius to figure out that their scoops come from the political opponents of the people they target ... when was the last time M&R got a scoop that wasn't handed to them by some political boss?

Note too how dismissive diaz was of newsom's sex scandal ... to diaz, it didn't matter what newsom did, only how he handled it with the press ... once newsom admitted it, the chronicle felt its job was done and it was time to move on ... a one-day story ...

look what the Chronicle downplayed because Newsom obeyed the 3As:

1. a CEO (mayor) who is showing up to business functions drunk (such as his visit to a hospital following a police shooting) ... what other things happened at city hall because the mayor was too drunk to do his job? we'll never know because the mayor followed Diaz's 3As.

2. the CEO spending a lot of personal time with a woman who admitted using a lot of cocaine during that same period ... and that just happens to be the many (such as Supervisor Chris Daly) suspect the CEO has been using.

3. that CEO having a sexual affair with one of his staffers (a firing offense in a lot of places)

4. the staffer's submission of a falsified time card in order to get $10,000 in compensation (that many believe was hush money for not talking to the press). she has never spoken to the press, clearly a violation of diaz's 3A rule.

last time I checked, falsifying a time card is a federal offense punishable by jail time ... the chronicle dropped that angle entirely, of course, in their effort to help newsom get back on his feet ...

moreover, diaz thinks newsom followed the 3As when he clearly didn't ... the mayor has completely stonewalled the press regarding the false time card and his girlfriend's drug abuse ... did they ever share a line of coke? ... he gets hostile when the subject is brought up ...

imagine how much better the chronicle would be if it didn't have idiots who had rules like the 3As?