Tuesday, April 30, 2013

USAT | A tale about dueling 'exclusive' interviews; who actually got the 'get': ABC, USAT -- or People?

Screenshots from my iPhone this morning tell conflicting stories about the exclusivity of interviews with Amanda Knox, the American whose murder conviction was overturned by an Italian court. She's now promoting a just-published book while she faces the possibility of retrial.

ABC News posted a text story at 8:54 last night based on what it called an "exclusive" interview with correspondent Diane Sawyer; the video version is scheduled to appear at 10 tonight:

USA Today, meanwhile, touts its "exclusive" interview by Washington Bureau Chief Susan Page in a story timestamped 7:39 ET this morning. Here's the paper's press release, making the same claim shortly after midnight:

But in the story, the paper offers several qualifications in especially tortured language: "It was the first sit-down, face-to-face interview Knox had done with a reporter, followed by other interviews about her book with People magazine and ABC News' Diane Sawyer. An ABC special, Murder. Mystery. Amanda Knox Speaks, airs at 10 ET tonight."

And in yet another qualification, USAT says in the press release (my emphasis added): "Page had the first sit down, face-to-face interview that Knox has ever done with a reporter. Knox's interview with USA Today fell just five days after an Italian court ruled Knox must face a re-trial. Despite the court's decision, Knox kept her interview."

Apparently, the first "ever" refers to the fact the interview was actually conducted on March 31 -- but held until today under a so-called embargo. Also, it was "sit down" and face-to-face."

In fact, People's story was posted online April 18 -- nearly two weeks before ABC's and USAT's. Way back then, the magazine said: "She's been free since 2011, but Amanda Knox -- who spent four years in Italian prison for murder -- still faces moments of crippling anxiety, she tells People Magazine exclusively."

But, wait; there's more!
ABC's text story last night notes (emphasis added): "Right after the ruling came down, Knox told ABC News, 'I was so convinced that it was finally going to be over, but it just means that it's all the more important that I say what happened and keep fighting for what's right.'"

The questions: Does the exclusive label even matter to readers and viewers? Or is this just a war over bragging rights that only P.R. departments care about?

Related: HarperCollins reportedly paid Knox $4 million for the book rights. The publisher is owned by News Corp., which also owns Fox News and The Wall Street Journal. News Corp., it seems, decided it didn't want to keep the exclusive interviews in house.


  1. I doubt many readers and viewers care about "exclusive" labels. It's usually just marketing BS, like in this Knox example.

  2. "Exclusive" is an editorial circle jerk. It means nothing to anyone else.

  3. Amanda is HOT!

  4. What a waste of editorial space. Susan Page may not know any better, but an editor should. Why devote two full inside pages to this drivel? An economy of words...NOT.

  5. Amanda Knox and her publisher have a book to hawk, and they'll dish out as many "exclusives" as necessary to get the title shifting units at your local Barnes & Noble. That USAT and ABC and everyone else will line up for these just proves again that the U.S. media is nothing if not lap dogs for the entertainment industry. Knox's story, such as it is, was the same last week and last month, before her book was on sale.

    1. Very astute observation, 9 p.m. The big problem is the story is not very compelling and a boring read.


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