Monday, March 1, 2010

When a News Update Isn't a News Update

In "Turning the Wheels of Self-Publicity", I covered the use of (undisclosed) advertorials on matters relating to the Highgate Vampire and/or affiliated items.

The latest example has been taking place in a thread on the Arcadia forum, called "New Book--the Robin Hood/Highgate Conspiracy".

The mysterious damiana (Barbara Green) initiated the topic:
A new book written by a conspiracy theory expert will be out in around two weeks, in which a chapter is devoted to this subject. Right up to the Red Monkey film team pulling out after they had been interviewed by Lady Armytage and her flunkeys, and the recent information that a local councillor was involved.
This provoked some interest among other members. However, I saw through this ruse and called her out on it.

Her response? Here:
It was just a news update--is that a problem? I havent seen the FT- they seemed scared off the Kirklees story some years ago, I do know that! When I get my freebie copy of the new book I will send you more info--is that a problem, or don't you want to be known to be interested in a very interesting story because the Powers that Be, both in this world and no longer in it, can still do their stuff, wouldnt be surprised if it was the funny handshake lot. If the story of Robin Hoods Grave upsets you do by all means, keep off it instead of moaning that you dont like it,
This resulted in some cross-promotion from David:
Yes I'd like to know more about this book, Barbara - so could you tell me in a PM. Not a word would pass my lips without your prior authorization! After all, I am the Patron of the Yorkshire Robin Hood Society, let it be remembered!
Fortunately, another member (DVB) picked up on something slightly amiss:
Hi Damiana.
Could you clarify? In your first post in this thread you said there was a chapter on this subject in A new book written by a conspiracy theory expert. In your most recent post you say it's actually what I wrote but it has been edited.
Is it your book, copy-edited by someone else; or is it a book edited by someone else in which you have a chapter?
And can you say who the conspiracy theory expert is? :)
She was noticeably unwilling to disclose their identity in her response.

In my follow-up reply, I had to explain the difference between a "news update" and an advertorial. For those not-in-the-know, an advertorial is
an advertisement written in the form of an objective article, and presented in a printed publication—usually designed to look like a legitimate and independent news story.
They're a pretty shady form of "journalism". In fact, in Barbara's own United Kingdom, the "UK's Advertising Standards Authority requires advertorials to be clearly marked as such."

In light of the obvious nature of this "news update", I speculated that the book's author is Barbara herself (it's pretty obvious, from her slip-up) and "it's probably going to be published by the BPOS or an affiliated publisher".

Whether this'll be the case, remains to be seen.

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