September 19, 2003

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way Back to Media Map

I'm in it.

And so are a lot of you bloggers.

Remember when Dan Gillmor and others posted about getting pinged by annoying PR people from BigPR asking if their client can guest host (or some such nonsense) their weblogs?

Well I know why now. It's Media Map.

When I left Ketchum, I was an infrequent but pleased user of Media Map. I've always thought Media Map was the killer ap for media relations. I started using it when I was at Crescent back in 1997. It had some bugs back in those days, like don't try to click on page two of your search results because it just wasn't having that. But over the years, it's become a valuable tools of both big and small agencies.

I'm now using Media Map Performa for one of my clients. It's some version of media map that is basically the media map I remember from six months ago. It's good. No bugs like in the old days--least as I can tell so far.

In the database is just about every reporter, editor, broadcast journalist, publisher, producer, lapdancer and candlestick maker in the wonderful world of media. There are a number of ways to search them up, and a number of reports you can generate. It's not all bad for the reporters either. They get to state their pet peeves--like DON'T FUCKING CALL ME (mostly they don't say fucking); email me instead.

And would you believe many of them still prefer faxes for press releases--I'm assuming that's so they can easily ignore them altogether. Smart.

But that's not news.

The news to ME was this: Among the choices in the field for media "Outlet" -- along with magazines, journals, broadcast TV, Broadcast Radio, Online, Newsletters, etc -- is now--you guessed it--BLOGS.

PLABOMEASHGHOFLSHHH: Sound of Jeneane's mind being blown.

So, when I put my mind back together, naturally I searched on blogs.

And there was Allied, this very blog, proudly if not puzzlingly listed among the "A"s.

Right. Dig it.

I come to Media Map
in my role
as a PR person
for various media outlets.
I dutifully look
for contacts names
and outlets there.

One of the outlets I find
is my very own blog,
this blog,
And one of the media contacts I find
is ME.

I, in essence, have found myself.

I never thought it would feel like this.

Is your head spinning yet?

And George is there, and Doc and David are there.

Here's a sampling of what Media Map says about some of us:

The Doc Searls Weblog covers computer technology, as well as current events, national, and international news.

And then about Doc himself, as the contact for the blog: Searls' blog covers computer technology, as well as current events, national, and international news. Searls is the Senior Editor of The Linux Journal. He prefers to receive all press releases and contact by e-mail. See the outlet overview for complete blog details and pitching tips. Topics covered - Emerging technology; Government: municipal, county, and natl.; News, international; News, national; Technology.

For George's blog, it says: Musick covers jazz and the music industry.

For David it says: Joho the Blog covers government and politics, technology, the Internet, other blogs, and the media.

And for this blog? Allied covers topics related to healthcare, public relations, technology and blogging, communications, and general business topics.

And about me as the contact for the blog: Sessum covers topics related to healthcare, public relations, technology and blogging, communications, general business topics, and race issues in her blog. She can be contacted by e-mail. See the outlet overview for complete blog details and pitching tips. Topics covered - Advertising, marketing, and PR; Business; Communications, technology; Healthcare; Internet; Social issues; Technology.

Before you get irate or excited (you know--I was basically stupified), know that Media Map has a blog too, and it's not a bad one. It's one of those mostly news blogs, but I generally hang out there for longer than five seconds, so that means I'm reading something. I think they're getting the hang of it. It's not Media Map I'm worried about. It's the masses of PR newbies at BigPR agencies that could begin to make the lives of bloggers difficult.

I'm afraid of this very likely sequence of events:

1) PR AE goes to media map.
2) Performs search for a business/technology media
4) Blogs appear in the search results among the usual suspects
5) She checks out a few blogs before pitching, but doesn't know how blogs or blogging work.
6) We bloggers begin getting bombarded with pitches from PR flacks just like traditional journalists do.

In answer to the question that I so hate -- "Are Bloggers Journalists?" -- we may not be allowed the power to answer that for ourselves in the end. We may just start getting pitched. And some of the stories will be interesting. Some may be so interesting that we bite on them. And then what are we?

And some of them will be really lame and annoying. Well, probably most.

And it will be up to each of us to decide what to do with these pitches.

The depressing part of blogs being part of media map is essentially what's depressing about most broadcast media in general and its happy lackey BigPR: Targeting, not talking.

If we could skip the search-and-pitch-at-100-miles-an-hour routine, and if more bloggers, businesspeople among them, and traditional journalists got to know each other as people--heaven forbid even switch voice and genres here and there--well then, we'd be talking. Literally.

As I sit here this evening pondering what I stumbled on today, I say good for Media Map for giving us a run in their database. But PR people PLEASE use blogs as an outlet with extreme caution. Otherwise you'll find your pitches and your names plastered up for the world to see. And your boss--the one who probably told you to find out about those new weblog things--won't be so happy about that.

But still there's an upside. When you get fired by that same clueless overlord, you can come blog with us.

And just wait; those same people will be lathering you up with praise hoping to get you to pick up a story or two....


No comments: