So big whoop! Why is media-training for the Chinese authorities, hosts to the 2008 Olympic Games, considered such a scandal worthy of a news feature in The New York Times and an editorial in The Boston Globe? Perhaps it has something to do with the “spin class’s” designers and their affiliation with the esteemed Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard. I bet the same curriculum conducted by a global PR firm wouldn’t raise any eyebrows, in spite of the likely use of former journalists.
The practice of helping corporations, governments, non-profits and NGOs better understand and deal with the machinations of the news media so that their enterprises can shine brighter in the public spotlight is nothing new. I suppose New York City mounting a fake ticker tape parade up Broadway with the sole purpose of including it in a video to show the IOC, falls into the same category.
Again, media-training, message development, promotional stunts, etc. all are part of the reality of how news is made and delivered today. If only those responsible for developing the curricula at the big J schools would take notice.