Apple PR Insider: "You have to be able to control the journalist"
Today's portable telephone orgasm is only hours away from beginning, which makes this the perfect time to read this—an interview with someone who knows all about how Apple controls journalists.
After an earlier profile of the Steve Jobsian spin machine—really more of a spin Large Hadron Collider—PRNewser found another embedded flack willing to talk. Their entire interview is worth reading, but it boils down to more details about knowledge we already possess: Apple uses reporters, and reporters are willingly used by Apple.
Some highlights (all emphasis added):
You have to be able to control the journalist and prevent them from asking really hard questions.
Sometimes PR is asked to blacklist someone who wrote something negative, which is a very stupid idea — if someone is complaining about your company, you should pay more attention to them. But that never happens.
The whole atmosphere is management by fear. Everyone tries to keep the PR team out of the loop, because if the team catches wind of an event like a keynote speech involving an Apple employee, they will try to cancel it. People are afraid that someone in attendance might tweet or Facebook the employee's image and write "X is promoting iOS". You don't want that to happen, because there are to be no pictures of Apple people whatsoever — only the products.
Here's an example of her style: she met with the international PR team, and staffers had to rehearse the questions they were going to ask her as they couldn't ask anything that could be perceived as negative. Managers went through the group and assigned specific questions to individual reps.
And finally, reflecting on the whole endeavor:
The launches are very exciting.
But after a while you start thinking, "What the hell am I doing? This isn't PR. This is something else."