Date: Fri May 07 1993 22:56:00
From: Sheppard Gordon
Subj: Renting UFO Journalists
You can't buy journalists, but you can rent them
THE BALTIMORE SUN
If you had a particular ax to grind and wanted to see your
point of view in a newspaper, what would you do?
You could hire a public relations firm, but that would create
an expensive middleman.
PR Guy: Mr. Simon, would you like to go to lunch and talk
about how General Motors builds really safe pickups that would
never, ever turn people into cinders?
PR Guy: Great! Where would you like to go?
There is a cheaper way, however, of getting publicity: You can
sponsor a contest.
Here is a small sample of the contests listed in the
Journalism & Awards Fellowship Directory of Editor & Publisher
Bristol-Myers Squibb offers a $2,000 award "for outstanding
writing in the general media on cholesterol or high blood pressure."
The American College of Allergy and Immunology sponsors a
$1,000 award for "outstanding reporting on allergy and asthma."
The International Association of Fire Fighters sponsors a $500
award for "reporting and photography that best portrays the
professional and hazardous work of the Fire Fighters in the U.S.
The National Marine Manufacturers Association gives a stipend
of $1,000 to the journalist who "has made an outstanding
contribution to the sport of boating or allied water sports."
The National Association of Realtors sponsors an award. As
does the National Nutritional Foods Association. As does the
American Greyhound Track Operators Association.
I am not suggesting that journalists are influenced by such
But have you ever worried about your blood pressure or
sneezing while being rescued by a brave fireman who reaches you by
boat while you were looking for a house near a friendly greyhound
track while eating an apple?
Think about it.
Let's say, for instance, you believe in Unidentified Flying
Objects. How would you go about getting more UFO stories in the
Well, if you were the Fund for UFO Research of Mount Rainier,
Maryland, you would create an award that pays a "$500 cash prize"
for a story that makes "the most significant contribution to the
public understanding of the UFO phenomenon."
The Fund for UFO Research even saves reporters the trouble of
thinking up their own award-winning ideas. It provides a list:
"Possible topics may be, but are not limited to: the U.S.
government's involvement in the UFO subject; the phenomenon of UFO
`abduction' cases; or investigations into eyewitness reports of UFO
sightings. Awards are made without regard to any particular theory
about the source of the UFO phenomenon."
Prior to receiving notice of this award, I had been pretty
skeptical about UFOs.
Now, however, I would like to present this true story. My
prize can be sent to me care of this newspaper:
It was a dark and stormy night. Me and Joe Bob were out
looking for some roadkill for dinner when we saw a bright light
hovering above us in the sky.
"It's a UFO!" I screamed.
"Naw, it's just a bright light," Joe Bob said.
"Shut up," I said, "This contest pays $500."
"Yeah, it does sorta look like a UFO!" Joe Bob said.
Lower and lower the UFO came.
"It's opening up!" I screamed.
A ramp descended from the smooth, metallic sides of the saucer.
After what seemed like an hour but was probably only about 60
minutes, a tiny, round-headed man appeared. But it wasn't a man!
Where he should have had ears, he had tiny radar dishes!
"I am HROSSP-EROT," he said. "And I have come to cloud your
minds with my alien powers. Make me your president in 1996! It's
simple. Got it? Let's get it done!"
"My mind is being clouded by his alien powers!" I screamed. "I
feel like sending him money!"
"Not me," Joe Bob said. And then he walked up to HROSSP-EROT,
tied him to a spit and cooked him for dinner.
Moral No. 1: To some Americans, a politician is just a
politician no matter what planet he comes from.
Moral No. 2: While journalists cannot be bought, they can be
-> Alice4Mac 2.2b2 E QWK Eval:22Apr93
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