Monday Madness: Press Secretary Spins, Profnet vs. HelpaReporter

Last Updated Mar 25, 2008 2:40 PM EDT

I couldn't resist posting a link to this amazing video from The Onion of a White House spokesman "spinning" the death of his wife via a car accident. The Onion does great satire and this is right at the top.

Good spoof of the PR industry as well -- once you get past the ha-ha part of it, it does make you think about just how far each of us would go to "stay on message" and tend to our job, client or company under stressful circumstances.

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Profnet vs. HelpaReporter: A few weeks ago I reported to you about the uses of Facebook for PR, and one of the most interesting uses was the "Help A Reporter" group, in which PR guy Peter Shankman simply fields queries from journalists and passes them around to the people in the group.

The update is that the group has grown so popular that it has outgrown Facebook and is now its own stand-alone site, www.helpareporter.com. You can sign up right there for free -- Shankman had to move it to its own site because he maxed out Facebook's 1,200 member limit for sending out emails.

The catfight element is that what Shankman is doing undermines the quite successful little business PRNewswire has built up over the years in Profnet, its version of 'help a reporter.' The two basically perform the same function, but Shankman's is free and Profnet costs a lot of money for most PR people to use.

Soon after his group gained traction, Shankman got a call from PRNewswire accusing him of stealing posts from them and telling him to cut it out. Pretty funny.

PS -- Thanks to PRNewser for being the tipsheet for today's posts.

  • Jon Greer

    Jon Greer has been analyzing media and PR for more than 25 years. He's been a journalist and a PR executive, and has been a featured speaker for many years at the Bulldog Reporter Media Relations Summit, and served as Bulldog's Editorial Director for their PR University series of weekly how-to audio conferences.

    Jon provides PR services including media relations and freelance writing to clients including start-ups, law firms, corporations, investment banks and venture capital firms. In addition, Jon provides spokesperson training. Learn more about Jon's training programs at The Media Bridge.