Thanks to Upscale magazine for allowing me to contribute to this month's issue! You can also find it at my portfolio.
Heart & Soul: How My Friend Kirsten Ott Palladino Publicly Shamed Blue Cross Blue Shield Into Doing The Right Thing And Saving Her Life
I met and became cool with Kirsten Ott Palladino at media events, back when I was the editor of Thrillist Atlanta and she was Life & Food editor for the alternative weekly Sunday Paper. Beyond cool, she is a dedicated professional and genuine good-hearted person. But also, not really. Let me explain...
Regardless of who was actually responsible for the snow (God), weather predictions (meteorologists), Atlanta traffic (population growth/outdated infrastructure/racist politics/Cobb County/rural Georgia voters), readiness and maintenance of interstates (Governor Nathan Deal), late closing of schools and shutdown of school buses (school superintendent), everyone's blaming Kasim Reed for this whole ATL #SnowJam2014 thing. I know why.
You'd never believe this shit, but there is a such thing as journalistic integrity. When you're credited or recognized for having it, you've usually shown that you are careful to only report facts, able to remain as objective as possible, and those kinds of things. One major no-no is taking money for your content without stating to your reader that you're doing exactly that.
Hey, bills. They've gotta be paid and all; I get it--I get it. But there is a long-standing model for how you do this. Major newspapers, magazines and websites have been doing this for much longer than blogs have existed. All you basically do is have some way of alerting your reader that what they're laying eyes on has been purchased.
Why does it matter? Simple, really. When you buy something, you own it. If you own something, you control it. If you control the message, you usually don't follow anyone else's rules, although there's no rule saying that you couldn't follow them if you wanted to do such a thing--it'd be weird and strangely altruistic, but pretty awesome as well. Of course this doesn't happen often.
So when a hip-hop blog, which was once the premier source for quality underground and mainstream music, decides to just all of a sudden start dick-riding Moet & CHandon, well, it's kind of depressing. Not just because it's written in a very lame manner by the well-respected founder of the website, but mostly because never once does he come on out and say he's being paid. And really, is this bottle really that nice? Not that I'm an authority on Champagne bottles, but really. It's pretty loudly out of place, and by linking to Moet's Instagram account--twice--Eskay is damn near pulling a hamstring bending over to touch his toes for the brand that's quietly backing him up on this (I mean financially, of course).
Now, have I ever written about new alcohol products or packaging designs? Maybe. Hell, I'm drinking wine now, so I'm not exactly of sound-enough mind to recall, thanks. But have I ever been paid for doing so? Nope. As someone who attended media tastings and knows what these folks ask "journalists"(bloggers) to do in return for their invitation to the free food-n-drank event (and future invites, ahem...), I can tell you that Eskay is doing exactly what a publicist or marketing rep wants him to do just by the language and links. NahRight is too big of a brand (or at least I thought it was) to be doing this kind of stuff for free. Eskay may be reckless by drunkenly putting overpriced bubbly ads, cloaked as content, in between posts about rap artists Hopsin and Roc Marciano (I know..., "Who?," right?), but yeah, I guess I'm hating or something...
Anyway, read the post here; tell me if you think I'm just tripping. Better yet, tell Eskay in the comments of his blog. He could use the feedback (not as many comments these days), and I wouldn't count on my comment passing approval...
My old college homie "Big D from the NYC" hit me up the other day to say what up, as well as looking for some grown gentleman advice on something I actually am wondering what to do about myself, namely that big-ass box of hip-hop magazines I have stored in my garage...
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