THE BIG QUESTION: Why should celebrities be allowed to have copy approval?

The Mirror last week attacked the tactics of celebrity PR handlers,

claiming that PROs' insistence on control over even the tiniest detail

of interviews was unnecessary and petty


'In most cases, I think copy approval is a no-win situation for

everyone. Almost always the artist will object to some of what's been

written. Sometimes it's something trivial they want taken out of the

article, but sometimes they want to rewrite the piece. This upsets the

writer and possibly the editor. Papers offer copy approval just to get

the interview, assuming there will be no problems. When problems arise -

and they inevitably do - the paper is reluctant to deliver their promise

and you find yourself trying to enforce copy approval they are suddenly

reluctant to give. I think copy approval was more of an issue in the

dark days of The Sun. But in this tabloid-friendly climate, it's not

usually such an issue any more.'


'Celebrities who ask for copy approval are usually those who are either

paranoid or greedy. The only times that we have requested it were when

it related to a specific legal issue. But since 11 September the equity

of celebrities in the media has noticeably dropped. We now all

understand that there are more important things in life than what David

Beckham wears under his shorts. The Mirror has sensed it might sell

extra copies by taking a stand on what it sees as an important issue -

the paper is on the right track because PROs who demand copy approval

for celebrities are saying they don't have enough faith in their art.

Either that or they're control freaks.'


'If the story's red hot or sensitive, then a guarantee of copy approval

would certainly be a good bargaining tool in the mix of deciding which

paper to give the interview to. In general, though, there has to be a

certain amount of trust between celebrities and the press. They need

each other. Celebrities sell newspapers. And newspapers make sure that

celebrity products (e.g the book, CD, or film release) gets the profile

required to drive sales.

Hello! and OK! have not helped the situation of what Piers Morgan has

branded 'celebrity outrage'. As more and more celebs are prepared to

show off their bathrooms for cash, they are also treating copy, picture

and even headline approval as the norm. These weekly titles have created

a culture of editorial expectation among the rich and famous, which has

clearly had a knock-on effect into the tabloid press.'


'Copy approval began in the US and in the Nineties it spread to the UK

as a defence for celebrities against the excesses of the UK's (then)

uniquely intrusive tabloid press. A few skilful PROs with a genuine

understanding of both journalism and PR perfected the art of delivering

media coverage that gave the newspaper or magazine a genuinely good read

while protecting the integrity and reputation of the star. Although the

UK press has calmed down in recent years, copy approval remains a valid

tool for real stars. As a star of the modern media, Piers Morgan has

always understood its importance. I shall be surprised if he jettisons

copy approval permanently, thus ensuring that The Mirror becomes the

paper with no stars - other than himself!'

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