Listening to yesterday’s Broadcasting House on Radio 4, my sense that the Chilean miners were set to be exploited to the hilt kicked into high gear, listening to the investigative journalist Jonathan Franklin being interviewed about his forthcoming book on the extraordinary experience the 33 men went through.
He was slick and sharp – an American who had made his home in Chile and so perfectly placed to move in and interview the men, even via speaking tube whilst they were in the mine – and made an interesting point about the rescue of the miners being a global uniting point, an anti-9/11 that made everyone happy.
But at no point did I get a sense that there would be any money for the Chilean miners coming from his book. His implicit position on this was a piece of classic journalese reason – they’ll be pleased that he captured the right story, he suggested. The suggestion being that this is all that’s necessary.
This has always been the sticking point for a good PR; balancing the perception of what is good for the client and good for the media. I suspect that this book will suck more money away from the miners, will remove them further from the ownership of the narrative they have collectively created, and put it into the pocket of the opportunistic writer and publisher instead. I may be wrong, but I don’t think so.
For more on the ways in which I think that the miners will be exploited, look at today’s Media Guardian, in which I have an article on the matter, by clicking here
Talking of not owning the story, what is going on with Wayne Rooney? Anyone who crosses Alex Ferguson tends to end badly – surely that lesson has been learned quite conclusively over the years – so it is worrying that the numerous people with a finger in Rooney’s PR pie have let the story of his dissatisfaction with Manchester United bash its way across the back pages of the nation’s papers like a cudgel. Sponsors, agents, merchandisers, friends, foes and family all have access, all have a view and are all briefing the tabloids, who are plundering the soap opera.
It has never been a good idea, PR-wise, to let stories run riot in such a manner. If Rooney wants out, he and his people need to be subtle and careful. If they aren’t, he’ll surely rue it.