The Inaugural NIBS award
Sunday is a slow day for blog traffic. In an out-and-out attempt to reverse this situation, I am introducing a new weekly award to honour Noteworthy Irredeemable Bullshit, or NIBS.
This week, the honour goes to Australian Associated Press (AAP), an organisation I normally admire enormously. The NIBS is in recognition of their shameless and transparent cutting and pasting of a fluffy Network Ten media release promoting a new TV show, Can of Worms. The AAP story, an obvious and direct lift from a press release, was covered all throughout Australia as such wire stories often are — here is the version that found its way into the Sydney Morning Herald, complete with a promo shot from host, Ian “Dicko” Dickson’s talent agency, Watercooler Media.
Now, wire services cutting and pasting media releases is hardly new or news, even if I think it is a little cheeky for AAP to add its byline and presumably charge news outlet for the privilege of cutting and pasting it themselves. But what earned particular attention on this occasion was that there is an obvious mistake in the original media release has passed completely unnoticed or corrected, via AAP, into multitudinous newspapers and online news portals. Here it is:
Ten’s chief programming officer said the show promised to be “one of the most talked about and debated shows of 2011”.
“Can of Worms is the perfect vehicle to see the return of Dicko to our screens,” he said of the former Australian Idol judge.
“It is fresh, bold and certainly addresses the elephant in the room. We love it.”
Did you spot it?
Network Ten’s public relations department dropped off the name of their programming chief, leaving the job title to hang out there on its own like a shag on a rock. He is quoted at length as a mere phantom. This is a clear error, as demonstrated by doing a Google search of other Ten media releases which dutifully name “David Mott” as the executive in question. The search took thirty seconds at most, clearly too much for AAP and the dozens of newsrooms who happily ran the story word for word.
The inaugural NIBS goes to AAP for failing to maintain the impression there is daylight between public relations and news.