DIARY: Chuck press-release filler and bring back meaningful quotes

In Variety’s famed ’slanguage’ - the magazine’s private vernacular of words and expressions used in the film business - a PR company is known as a ’praisery.’ I can’t help smiling at this slight dig from the bible of showbiz every time I read a press release, given the hyperbole that publicists routinely employ when putting words into the very open mouths of their senior executives.

In Variety’s famed ’slanguage’ - the magazine’s private vernacular of words and expressions used in the film business - a PR company is known as a ’praisery.’ I can’t help smiling at this slight dig from the bible of showbiz every time I read a press release, given the hyperbole that publicists routinely employ when putting words into the very open mouths of their senior executives.

In Variety’s famed ’slanguage’ - the magazine’s private vernacular

of words and expressions used in the film business - a PR company is

known as a ’praisery.’ I can’t help smiling at this slight dig from the

bible of showbiz every time I read a press release, given the hyperbole

that publicists routinely employ when putting words into the very open

mouths of their senior executives.



Nearly everybody is ’absolutely thrilled’ at every announcement. X is

always ’delighted’ to be working with Y, even though he plans to fire

him within a couple of months. ’Fantastic opportunities’ abound at every

company, including those about to go bust. New writers, directors and

actors brought on to projects are always listed as the ’greatest

talent,’ the ’biggest stars,’ etc.



It’s clear that most PR pros gave up trying to write meaningful quotes a

long time ago. And while this is a problem afflicting the whole of PR,

in film - where hard information is never allowed to stand in the way of

complete guff - the situation is particularly severe.



There are a number of explanations for this lamentable trend. First of

all, Hollywood companies, which used to pay little attention to the

media, are now so desperate to interact with it that they make several

announcements each week. These offerings, even when jazzed up,

invariably sound the same. After a while, not only do the PR pros run

out of inspiration and begin to coast on autopilot, but execs take less

of an interest in the text that is being attributed to them.



Second, journalists have come to regard exec quotes in releases as

filler - they contain no information, do not advance the story and by

definition are to be ignored. Reporters only include them in articles

when there is space for it. Execs, in turn, have realized that their

delicate prose is being excised. That has encouraged them to spend even

less time dreaming up something original to say.



It may be that I am alone in even caring about this issue. But having

typed out thousands of pointless and long-winded CEO utterances in my

time, I am determined to start a campaign to make them more

meaningful.



In truth, journalists will use quotes, especially from top execs and

CEOs, for one simple reason: they provide solid evidence that a story is

real. In a Hollywood where readers look increasingly for authentication

(given the huge amount of misinformation), having a quote in a story can

be nothing short of a ringing endorsement.



The scene is set, therefore, for a quote comeback. All that’s needed now

is for the ’praiseries’ to come up with some spicy and informative copy.



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