Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Man...I Really Hate To Do This...

See where Newsarama interviews Steve Carell and Anne Hathaway over here? No, you didn't. Well, you might have read their answers to some questions...but you didn't see anything that involved Newsarama interviewing the stars.

What you saw was one of those pre-packaged print interviews (well, conference call interview, at least) that everyone slaps their name on and runs. It's basically a press release interview. It's like one of those radio interviews where your local host dubs themselves asking questions in between the pre-recorded answers from the stars and starlets of the latest mass media entertainment release.

It is nothing new and it is done everywhere across the 'net. But it sure disappoints me to see it as a newly adopted practice at Newsarama.

The same interview is available at SciFi.com (with an individual claiming to have conducted it) and chopped up for significant repackaging over at Canada.com. Other sites just grab certain bits. For instance, when I was searching for this "interview" to be posted all around the 'net, I decided to Google one of Hathaway's more unique, full answers:

HATHAWAY: Making out with him is like the yummiest lollipop, dipped in sunshine and wrapped in a masculine wrapper! That's the only way I can think to describe it.

That bit is at MTV Canada and Contra Costa Times, with the latter claiming it was said to Contact Music when it was obviously part of a big, honking press conference.

Kudos to Collider for not dressing it up and pretending they got to have a one-on-one chat with anyone.

Anyway, I guess I'd just feel better about Newsarama's expanded focus if they were applying their comic book coverage standards to other areas. I've never seen one conference call or panel for comic books dressed up to pretend it was a fireside chat conducted by someone drawing a paycheck from the site. It's one thing to run generic content available everywhere, but it's another to take part in the practice of passing it off as if you were directly involved and have something unique.


  1. It seems like it's pile on Newsarama week. When CBR goes away on weekends while Newsarama continues to have new material, no one complains. When CBR fails to break stories like Pacheco on Countdown, no one complains. When CBR runs Marvel preview art instead of stories that the outside world is covering (like the Return of Barry Allen), no one complains.

    Let's face it: CBR cribs nearly everything they do from Newsarama. Take a few days and watch the flow of stories. Marvel exclusives now that CBR is Marvel's bitch aside . . . watch how many stories run on Newsarama first and then appear on CBR. It's astounding.

    And it's not just stories: it's entire ideas. Team of reviewers? Check. Weekly annotated look at Trinity? Check. Blogs? Check. And there's more, if you watch.

    So now Newsarama catches hell from movie coverage. How about you click their Comic Tab and count how many new stories went up in the past two days vs. CBR.

    If that's the case, why are people down on Newsarama? People like to tear down #1.

  2. Newsarama brought this upon themselves. They were #1, and didn't have to do much to keep it. Sure, some tougher questions would be nice, but everything else was pretty good.

    Then they went and screwed up a good formula with the switch. They are venturing into territory people who go to Newsarama do not want. And people are leaving rather than coming back.

    Trying to continue debate with people on the new forums regarding a subject is a chore.

    Hell, I've posted here almost as much as I do at the new Newsarama, when my eyes used to only be at Newsarama looking at their ads and adding hits to their page.

    Also, when Newsarama credits a pre-packaged interview as done by "Newsarama Staff," they deserve to get crap for it.

  3. Despite Ken B. being more than willing to jump in and argue the other points you bring up (comics coverage, Rama Vs. CBR), I think it is important to note that 99% of your comment has 0% to do with anything I said in the blog.

    In fact, I gave Newsarama's standards for comic book coverage praise by saying that I had hoped they would have brought that to anything they expanded their scope to cover.

    Again, I fully recognize that many low tier entertainment sites take the same generic interview and try to pretend that they had a key role in it. I just expected better than that from Newsarama.

    I still value their comic book coverage (unlike some out there), especially after Matt Brady's strong assurances to concerned readers that the comic book content will not change for the worse. But becoming one of many entertainment sites that cuts and pastes mainstream content to pass off as their own work (which, on a personal level, feels equivalent to pretending you wrote something that you got off the AP wire) doesn't give me high hopes that their other focuses will live up to their old standards.

    ("Old standards" isn't meant to imply any difference in how they address comic book coverage. But if those "standards" aren't exactly applied to the entire site...well...they're no longer standards, are they?)

  4. My links to Newsarama.com have been changed to direct links to their comics-devoted section. I just don't want the other stuff.


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