Litbloggers and Journalists: How Much Do Publicists Track You?

The New York Times has a fascinating story on how some publicists keep extremely close track of journalists. It seems that an in-house memo from Microsoft was accidentally emailed to Wired reporter Fred Vogelstein. The memo contained a good deal of information on Vogelstein, as well as some opinions (“Fred’s stories tend to be a bit sensational, though he would consider them to be balanced and fair.”).

Nearly any litblogger or journalist who deals with publicists should read this article, if only to be aware that they are possibly being tracked in some way. In fact, two publicists have told me privately that there are files containing some of the things I have written about specific authors. I haven’t a clue why. I’m just a hapless litblogger. I have no idea if there are specific speculations upon my temperament or testaments about how my writing and podcasting, or the offerings of other bloggers, is viewed at large.

But if the publicists are good, they are collecting as much information about bloggers as they can and trying to capitalize upon this. The best thing to do is to keep them guessing. Judging by the book haul I received last weekend, it would seem that I am viewed as a guy who likes extremely slim comedy books written by Brits, 900 page science fiction books from authors I have never heard of, and books that are vaguely (but not explicitly) sexual. All this amuses me to no end.

You can read a PDF of the Microsoft memo in question here.

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