NEW YORK: The media hardly needed encouragement to hype Martha Stewart's March 4th release from a West Virginia prison, but the media mogul's PR mavens, led by AOR Susan Magrino Agency and Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia (MSLO), worked together to shape a
"[It's] really been a team effort of our agency along with the Martha Stewart Living in-house people," said president Susan Magrino. "And Martha has obviously been involved herself."
Anne Woolsey, a field producer with FOX News Channel, said that there was not much news from Stewart's camp in the weeks leading up to the release. "They were not sharing details," she said. "And then a few hours before her release, the floodgates opened."
Woolsey said she received a media advisory from MSLO giving a 12:30-1:00 AM time-frame during which Stewart would appear at the Greenbrier Valley airport in West Virginia.
"The fact that the PR folks released [the information] to us was surprising to me because I though we'd hear it from the prison," she said. "But it worked. You had tons of media covering her release."
A meeting at MSLO's New York offices last Monday, during which Stewart addressed the company's employees, attracted a throng of media as well. "They allowed the media to watch, and some of those moments seemed very private," Woolsey said. "But from a PR standpoint, that's a lot of free press."
Magrino said her agency was responsible for press credentialing, handling RSVPs, and press management for the event, but added that the overall strategy was the result of collaboration.
Woolsey speculated that the photo opportunity at the airport could have been part of a strategy to cast Stewart in a more favorable light. "They didn't want the image of her in jail, but they wanted the image of her getting on a plane...that's a more positive image," she said. "They set it up so that we saw only the best shots. And that picture ran everywhere."