This is a rant about the public relation methods of a company that shall remain unnamed, but for the sake of the story, lets just call it “Facebook”.
As some of you might know I’ll be traveling to Google I/O next week. So I thought: Why not ask Facebook for an interview, they are going to be there, they just released Facebook Home and are actively trying to engage in the Android market. Sound like a good idea, right? As it turns out: Not so much.
Cause Facebook’s (or to be exact: their PR departments) answer was stunning to say the least: Before I could get an interview I would have to send them at least a bunch of my questions beforehand. I’ve experienced such inquiries in the past and routinely decline them cause such a move is in total contradiction of my understanding of journalism and the concept of free press. If the interviewee knows the questions up-front it’s not an interview - it’s a well prepared propaganda show.
But in Facebook’s case the total disrespect for basis journalistic principles was even more blatant. Cause what they wanted was to get the questions first
and only then
decide if I’d get an interview at all. Their argument was along the line that they have to check if the questions make sense (as if that would be up for them to decide...) or could be answered at all cause “Facebook Home is such a new product” and they have “so many inquiries”. This reasoning is obviously bogus. In reality such an up-front check provides them with the ability to selectively choose journalist who ask the “right” (from their PR perspective) questions. And that is absolutely and utterly unacceptable in every way.
So in the end: Don’t expect an interview about Facebook Home on +derStandard.at/Web
anytime soon (unless Facebook changes their way of dealing with the press, naturally). Also I sincerely hope that other journalist also decline such “propositions” - which is one of the reasons why I make this story public. Journalism is not PR - or at least it shouldn’t. If you don’t stand up for yourself and decline such offers the result will inevitably be: bad journalism.