« Seen on Facebook ... | Main | Are you working in an industry, or a racket? »

May 01, 2013


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

The phrase "join the conversation."

Because it's so disingenuous?


I'm reminded of stunt by the PR agency for a major automaker back in the early 60 (I believe it was Chrysler). They called it the "Live Hood Ornament" contest and held it in conjunction with the Detroit Auto show. Women, most of them clad in bathing suits, were invited to strike poses on the hoods of the behemoth cars of the time and to be photographed in the process. It even draw a mother-daughter duo -- a photo that made the cover of Life magazine, if memory serves. Or was it Look?

No, I'm not THAT old, but these are the stories I used to hear while hanging out at the Detroit Press Club in the late 70s. And drinking Stroh's. And pitching stories for my automotive clients.

Yep, we've all come a long way, baby! Thank goodness.

I hate to admit this, David, but my father was editor of Reporting when that article appeared. And I often recall him defending Dick Henderson for running cheesecake in the Union Carbide company publication.

So much for all the philosophers and deep-thinkers of your misty bygone era.

Don't get me wrong, please. I loved my father and thought he was brilliant. But he was a tactician first and never really a strategic deep-thinker.

Like any editor, he wanted to attract eyeballs. If cheesecake brought more readers, he was all for it.

He'd fit right in today with the editors over at Buzzfeed.

Well, Mark, The Carbider is gone, and so is Larry.

So the relevant question now is, where do YOU stand?

I agree with the readers who commented under Michael's piece: We still publish cheesecake, it's just a different variation. Every Cosmo cover is a form of acceptable cheesecake; so is every reality TV show. Cheesecake exists on nearly every media site today. It's just disguised as something else.

Today's readers demand to be entertained and informed at the same time, which is why publishers from HuffPo to Business Insider to The New York Times have caved in to their demands. This is why Yahoo News carries stories on the Syrian war just abve a headline about the Loch Ness monster.

Our philosophy is to provide lots of tips and how-to articles alongside lighter fare. And by the way, it's not an option. It's strategy for survival. If we did otherwise, we'd be out of business in six months.

When I joined Ragan in 1993, my father outlined his editorial vision behind The Ragan Report: Sell them on your usefulness but keep them by entertaining them.

Of course the blatant exploitation of women in employee publications is no longer acceptable, and it shouldn't be. But for his time, that was the equivalent of Dancing with the Stars.

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner