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Rules of Traditional P.R. Fail on Blogosphere

Eason Jordan’s resignation wasn’t so much a victory for the blogosphere as it was a failure of old public relations tactics online. CNN’s and Eason Jordan’s mistake was trying to use conventional P.R. tactics on the blogosphere.

With technology leveling the playing field between the MSM and the public, and as the term off-the-record continues to slip off into obsolescence, Jordan and CNN’s public relations staff should have known better than post a statement that reads like it came right out of the cable network’s P.R. dept. with legal’s approval.

Blogs are conversations. I disagree with Morrisey that the only way CNN could have cleared things up was by getting the transcript or tape disclosed. If Eason himself had gone onto the blogosphere and communicated directly with the bloggers by commenting to clarify his statement, that too would have been an excellent way to deal with the situation.

The real mistake is to fall silent in the face of mounting online criticism. If you don’t tell your story, someone else will do it for you. And if you try and hide behind your public relations department, that just making the blog-mob angrier. CNN should have put Eason in a chair an encouraged him to scour the blogosphere for posts that he could respond directly to with intelligent, thought-provoking commentary. That would have been a good online public relations strategy.

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