'Leaker' firing leaves Conde Nast all wet

NEW YORK - Anyone reading PRWeek for the past year is familiar by now with the emerging theories of blog relations - when to engage, when to ignore, and when to call a lawyer.

And while we certainly aren't deluded enough to think the lofty bosses at Conde Nast live by our gospel, we would like to think they're at least as clued in to the ways of the media. After all, they own so much of it.

So imagine our disappointment last week when the infamous publishing palace "fired" a high-profile freelancer for sharing a harmless internal memo with Gawker.com (which, incidentally, many New York media types do consider gospel).

Earlier this month, Andrew Krucoff, himself a well-known blogger who was freelancing at Conde Nast, forwarded to his friends at Gawker an internal e-mail announcing that the company's server was down. He says he shared it with them only to explain why he wasn't on IM. Gawker nonetheless posted the very boring memo, proving once and for all that news value is in the eye of the beholder.

So when Conde Nast released Krucoff on Monday for being a "leaker," Gawker went ballistic.

The blog blasted Conde Nast for its decision, then swore revenge by inviting its staff of thousands to share every internal memo they could find (using personal e-mail addresses, of course). Good luck keeping anything internal after that.

And if you doubted Gawker's or Krucoff's influence with the media, The New York Times wrote a story the very next day.

Mark Twain once said, "Never pick a fight with someone who buys ink by the barrel." You'd think the publisher of Wired would know by now that links speak louder than ink. Perhaps they didn't get the memo.

Douglas Quenqua writes PR Play of the Week. He is PRWeek's news editor.


1. Clueless

2. Ill-advised

3. On the right track

4. Savvy

5. Ingenious

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