Taking cues on name-dropping from page 12 of the Gawker Guide, I asked Choire Sicha as part of our ongoing Gawker on PR series if he felt–collectively–that Gawker is the J.J. Hunsecker of this century. Rather than run with the baited comparison to Hunsecker–the Walter Winchell character in The Sweet Smell of Success played by Burt Lancaster–he chose to talk about the history of the film, and what lingers from the era of the blacklist. Skip football and rent it this weekend. The flack to Lancaster’s Hunsecker is Tony Curtis’s Sidney Falco, the scrappiest, most bare-knuckle PR person ever portrayed on film. We won’t spoil it for you, but it doesn’t end like Michael Clayton.

Read the rest of this entry »



Photo: Andy Plesser interviewing Robert Scoble

Sadly, PRNewser’s series on Gawker’s Conquering All Media is coming to a close this week. Caught up in the melee of the FEMA scandal we neglected to write up another key response from an agency head to Choire Sicha’s thoughts on Michael’s restaurant.

Andy Plesser, founder of Plesser Holland, placed gossip items and feature stories on behalf of the restaurant in the 90s prior to transitioning away from lifestyle clients in 1999. To summarize his thoughts: go to lunch to gawk, go to breakfast to cut your deals.

Plesser understands both the need for some offline gawking as well as the new rules of the self-referential blogodome. His is a mostly serious, and well-trafficked (Technorati top 10,000) vlog covering the online video revolution. See him commenting on v. Scoble here, and a vlog-within-a-vlog on Kara Swisher’s AllThingsD. Vlogodome? Copyright pending.

Like other influencers featured on PRNewser, Plesser graciously denied his impact on his former client. Before getting to his comments, I disclose that I worked for his firm from 2000 to 2006:

Jason, you flatter me that I’m the “guru,” it’s Michael and his staff who have brilliantly created an enduring scene and brand by knowing “who is important” in building the electricity in the room. The other cool thing is that Michael is very loyal to customers who are seen as important, even it they are not in the spotlight or employed. There’s a lot of buzz in the room, but goodwill, which makes the scene so enduring.

Read the rest of this entry »


We solicited a few opinions from PR execs on the value of Michael’s in response to our Gawker series post this morning. Richard Laermer CEO of RLM PR, author of Full Frontal PR, Punk Marketing, and Bad Pitch blogger finds it ‘super important’ for schmoozing with his agent, though the ‘dead tree’ types left a bad taste, despite the bisque:

I actually used to spend a lot of time gazing into the eyes of the anchors who dine there while I did my publishing deals and met my hilarious agent. Nowadays I go to so few places for lunch because, well, I’m freakin busy!

Years ago the content head for AOL asked me to go to Michael’s with her to observe the ridiculousness of the hushed conversations. We had a grand time (old pals) just dissing the mood. Meanwhile, I realized that this was really in many ways like some old tradition where the media elite broke bread (well really not, anti-carb and all, ha!) and spoke about where they hoped their careers were taking them. But…

It was only two years ago and still I caught the irony of a lot of dead-tree types talking about books and broadcast TV and magazines that were about to be redesigned for the millionth time (and uh a few high level newspaper people who were about to head off a cliff with readership drops)… And I thought to myself: “Why aren’t you all tearing off your ties and doing some hard work?

Why is the publisher of Teen People guffawing loudly when it was obvious [to me] that the teens she used to have a hold on are now on networking sites that give them more gossip on (then star) Hartnett than anything they could bother covering with a long lead time?”

Then they brought the lobster bisque and forgot what I was going on about in my head.


Today’s lesson in our ongoing series with Choire Sicha on Conquering All Media has a bit less to do with tweaking the blogodome. While many enjoy my boss’s seating chart blog series on VIP media watching at Michael’s, we explore why Sicha prefers bratwurst on 9th Aveune for offline deals.

His answer peels back the layers further, revealing the depth of his love for our profession. Stay tuned for reactions from PR luminaries on the McCarty game (now available in the home edition):

PRNewser: Tips for Michael’s; where should PR people sit? Should we create new mystique, sit at the bar and glare at the bold face names? What should we wear? Read the rest of this entry »


As part of our ongoing interview series about Conquering All Media, Gawker’s Choire Sicha has a special offer for PRNewser readers:

“I’ll gladly send any PR person who emails me a comment invitation for Gawker and personally train them how to troll.”

Before you hit Send, consider the potential for addiction and why you need to see your nuggets of wit on a Denton blog. How are you going to hide those two hours of billable time per day?

All of Sicha’s answers have provided underlying wisdom beneath layers of snark and blog commenting is no different. Try it and see if you like it. It’s a skill that comes in handy–we’re interested in PR people doing it well, and those who are not.

PRNewser: Tell us how to comment troll

Read the rest of this entry »


As our industry congregates in Philly for the annual PRSA conference, to discuss ethics, and best practices for the new PR World order, we continue our series with Choire Sicha, managing editor of Gawker who explains why embargoes are rarely worth the trouble, and why you can trust him with your dirtiest of laundry.

Read on to see Sicha throw an elbow at Freud CEO Matthew Hilzik for messing around with briefing books, and speculate how Dan Klores would work the blogs like a “filthy fellow” were he still pitching:

PRNewser: Do you honor embargoes? How far does quid pro quo go?

Read the rest of this entry »


In our ongoing series based on the Gawker Guide, and email interview with Managing Editor Choire Sicha, we look at how a publicist can cozy up to a Gawker Media blogger.

While Sicha’s answers are funny, there are underlying lessons about building relationships with bloggers. If you’re looking for more straightforward how-to information, naturally the techies have good advice, including becoming a blogger yourself.

Sicha also alludes to a certain young and talented PR exec. Hmm, who is he talking about?

PRNewser: How do you buy off a blogger from Gawker Media? Read the rest of this entry »