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Newsjacking controversy: MSNBC vs Ragan Communications

NewsjackingYesterday, Alan Stamm wrote a very critical article about Newsjacking on the Ragan Communications site called Meet the advocates of 'newsjacking': As if PR needs another self-inflicted injury, this movement is a stain on the industry.

Unfortunately, Stamm wrote his article without even bothering to read my book Newsjacking: How to Inject your Ideas into a Breaking News Story and Generate Tons of Media Coverage. Not reading the book didn't stop him from dismissing the ideas in it. I've got no problem with people criticizing my ideas, *if* they know what they are talking about. But to dismiss a book without reading it... ridiculous (and rude).

I commented on the post right away. It's ironic that the technique Stamm dislikes so much (following the news on Google and reacting quickly to provide information for reporters) is exactly how I found out about his article and why I commented immediately after it was posted. Lots of other people commented too.

Interestingly, in the same week that the Regan article came out, I was interviewed on MSNBC about Newsjacking. The reporter who interviewed me, JJ Ramberg from the MSNBC Your Business program, had nothing but praise for how newsjacking can benefit small businesses.

Direct link to MSNBC interview How to Generate Media Coverage on YouTube.

So here are the two varied takes on newsjacking:

Alan Stamm says in his Ragan article: "Grabbing brazenly for online attention via topic du jour opportunism positions the perpetrator as a bottom-feeder. It's the opposite of "earned media," PR jargon for company profiles, quotes in news-reaction roundups and other coverage obtained the old-fashioned way."

However, JJ Ramberg said to me on air after I explained newsjacking: "I love this because it is much more likely that [a reporter] will call upon you if you can fit into a story they’re doing than when you’re trying to make news yourself."

Who is correct?

I've found that people like Stamm who don't understand newsjacking and who have negative views are reacting to the seemingly "bad" connotation based on similar words like "carjacking" and "hijacking" which decidedly are bad. But they don't bother to learn what newsjacking really is by reading my book or having me explain what the technique is.

What's changed recently to make newsjacking possible is that Google now indexes in real-time. That allows a timely blog post to be seen by journalists as they search for more information on a topic. Real-time is the key here. Yet nearly all PR people are in campaign mode rather than real-time mode, so those like us who understand newsjacking have an advantage.

What do you think?

David Meerman Scott

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