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Why Channel Island is MIA at NBC TV press tour

January 15, 2009 |  4:41 pm

NBC is doing its PR thing today at the TV press tour in Universal City. So where is your humble Channel Island columnist? Not there, alas.

The network's media-relations department informed me last week that it would not provide me with credentials for this year's sessions. No reason was stated, but none was really necessary. In the past, the PR folk have made it clear that network executives are not happy, not happy at all, with my reporting and commentary on the company. By my count, this is the fourth straight press tour where NBC has declined to extend me an invitation.

In my version of a perfect world, each reporter would be given credentials for big events regardless of what that company's big cheese thinks of his or her work. Without fear or favor — isn't that what the journalism profs say? But my friends, we do not live in such a utopia. Chap someone's butt at the White House, and a scribbler may very well find himself booted off Air Force One. Ruffle Steve Jobs' feathers, and there may be no special sneak peek at the next cool iPhone app for you. People may tell you they like criticism. These people are lying. 

Am I moaning because I couldn't get a ticket to the circus? Um . . . not exactly. It's understandable that execs might not get all kissy-face with a guy who's tossed bombs their way in the past. And as a practical matter, not attending the NBC press tour frees me up to pursue other matters. Like this blog post, for example.

But consider this. Unlike its rivals, NBC doesn't always seem to get that balanced coverage is generally a good thing. Yes, there's criticism, as anyone would expect for a network that's been mired in fourth place for years. But media coverage is wild and woolly these days, and one guy's opinion amounts to just another hair on the warthog's rump. NBC does air some shows that many people like — and that I and many of my colleagues have written about very favorably in the past. Shows such as "30 Rock," "The Office" and "Heroes." Exposing those and other good shows to as many reporters as possible — hollering it from the rooftops, as it were — is the best way of serving those series, their creators and their fans.

And then there's this: NBC has been banning me from its press events for years now. I am still writing about NBC. They are still unhappy!

Message: Present m.o. not operational.

Could there possibly be an application for NBC's programming strategy? Just asking.

— Scott Collins 

 

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