Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Paul Graham: 'PR diving', authentic writing, and the decline of the MSM

Paul Graham, author of one of my favorite essays of all time, has published another brilliant essay on his website, entitled The Submarine.

The article addresses the tawdry, symbiotic relationship between public relations firms and the MSM. He goes on to explain why the web in general and blogs in particular are bringing the sordid details of this relationship to light.

My favorite quotes:

Most people who publish online write what they write for the simple reason that they want to. You can't see the fingerprints of PR firms all over the articles, as you can in so many print publications-- which is one of the reasons, though they may not consciously realize it, that readers trust bloggers more than Business Week.


Whatever its flaws, the writing you find online is authentic. It's not mystery meat cooked up out of scraps of pitch letters and press releases, and pressed into molds of zippy journalese. It's people writing what they think.

This essay should be required reading for all members of the MSM. And I'm considering including 'PR diving' in my next Online Newswriting class.