Out of the Blue: PR Measurement News

Tuesday, April 25, 2006 Public Relations Measurement Newsletter: Goose Me!   VOLUME 1 ISSUE 7  
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ARCHIVE
Public Relations Measurement Newsletter: Some Animals Eat Their Young
March 19, 2006
Vol. 1 Issue 6
Public Relations Measurement Newsletter: New Year's Resolutions
February 13, 2006
Vol. 1 Issue 5
Public Relations Measurement Newsletter: Setting Goals for Press Coverage
November 21, 2005
Vol. 1 Issue 4
Public Relations Measurement Newsletter: Rating the News
October 14, 2005
Vol. 1 Issue 3
Public Relations Measurement Newsletter: Internet Impressions
September 2, 2005
Vol. 1 Issue 2
Public Relations Measurement Newsletter: Reputation
August 3, 2005
Vol. 1 Issue 1
April 25, 2006
Goose Me!
Personification in the Media
www.blue-marble.com
by Neal Combs and Debra Parcheta

Goose Me!

Martha Stewart - down. Controversial persons in the news suffer waves of negative and positive personal characterizations.  For Martha Stewart, the media cannot decide if she is brilliant or criminal or both, but the impressions are becoming more positive.
With her or on her? That is the question. If you read those opening words and pictured the decorating diva trailing behind the geese on her estate plucking tiny little feathers from, well, their behinds to fashion a fashionable, comfy comforter, then you are probably down WITH Martha. But if you saw the name and immediately had to process which 25 negative thoughts you should engage in your consciousness, while allowing the other million or so to temporarily flee your brain, then you are down ON Martha.

Does this come in Un-black?
America has two very distinct views of Martha, either black or white, and there doesn’t seem to be a pretty, pastel shade of gray area in between.1



Personification:
In Black

In White
February 2006
  • Anything But Smart
  • Perfectionist
  • Fighting, Feuding
  • Sassy
  • Liar
  • Scandalous
  • Toddler-like
  • Disrespectful
  • Setback, Failure
  • Poor Leader
  • Lackluster
  • Roadblocked
  • Sprung from Hoosegow
  • Rebounding
  • Attached
  • Gracious
  • Domestic
  • Expert
  • Leader
March 2006
  • Blaming
  • Target of Attacks
  • At Odds
  • Perpetrator
  • Sexless
  • Smart Mouth
  • Demanding
  • Impatient
  • Brusque
  • Prodding
  • White Collar Convict
  • Fresh from prison
  • Micromanager
  • Hard-headed
  • Needs Polish
  • Rough Edges
  • Award Winner
  • Inspired
  • Gracious Guest
  • Everyday Influence
  • Fashionable
  • Seller
April 2006
  • Criminal
  • Convicted
  • Thrifty
  • Working
  • Knowledgeable
  • Expert

Wicked ...
A quick trip to Wikipedia, the free, online, self-healing research encyclopedia, provides an interesting example that mirrors what we see in the press coverage about Martha. Enter "Martha Stewart" and you are greeted with the following warning flag.

The neutrality of this article is disputed because:
It is decidedly pro-Martha, with barely a mention of the recent scandal.

True enough, but the research categories at the bottom of the page which include "Sirius Satellite Radio Personalities, Living People, and American Businesspeople" also list her in the groups Perjurers, Incarcerated Celebrities and People from New Jersey. Again we see black and white personification of the "goddess of an industry."2

Size matters? Victory for small guys.
Following her conviction for what appeared to be some very fortunate timing on a stock sale, one juror was quoted as saying, "This is a victory for the little guys. No one is above the law." The quote about the little guys would also seem to support Martha’s contention that she was being charged because she was a rich, powerful woman. Others reported that the D.A. took the easy way out, being inexplicably reluctant to put her in prison for suggesting that it would be a "good thing" to mark every single dish we serve with a hand-carved and dyed toothpick-flag proclaiming the origin and labor-intensive ingredients of the food. Many saw a greater crime being committed when Al Roker assisted her in making coffee ice cream with praline sauce from scratch. But, whether big or small, that is the beauty of a diverse America. Everyone can express their opinion. And she did serve the time.

How Big is Martha?
In Black

In White
February 2006
  • Outsized Entrepreneur
  • Gigantic Ego
  • Eclipsed Judgment
  • Mud-slinging Diva
  • Maven
  • Diva
  • Doyenne of Gracious Living
March 2006
  • Worth More in Jail
  • 1 of 10 Worst Communicators
  • A nothing
  • Losing traction
  • Author of 51 books
  • Flower Expert
  • Herb Expert
  • Advice Expert
  • Baking Expert
  • Daytime Personality
  • Famous Homemaker
  • Lifestyle Maven
  • How-To Expert
  • Broad Reach
  • Business Expert
  • Kids' Mentor
  • Color Expert
  • Radio Star
  • Domestic Doyenne
  • Community/Home Design Expert
  • Take Over World
  • Amazing Power and Influence
April 2006
  • Disapproving Authority
  • Thinks She is Better Than Others
  • Upscaling
  • Rising
  • Goddess of Her Industry
  • Advisor to Home-owning Women
  • Wedding Authority
  • 30-something Women’s Expert
  • Furniture Design Expert
  • Empire Builder

Martha is pretty big in the press and more reporters are down WITH Martha in the last 2 months - at least, until she goes another round with "The Donald."

_________________________________

1 Print and online data from FactivaTM
2 26 April 2006, The Richmond Times-Dispatch, In Rubell's book, the people, not the pomp, liven a party, Julie Young; "But Rubell, author of a new down-to-earth party planner ... acknowledges Martha Stewart as the goddess of her industry."
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