WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Marketing Director Oversteps Authority

Jul 19, 2016

FTVLive reported that Emily Mowers, the marketing director for television station WVEC in Norfolk, was upset because the news department did a story about the city's public service app, which was better than a similar app available from the station. So she sent a memo to reporters explaining how she thought they should do their jobs.

In the memo she said reporters should ask certain questions when working on a story, including:

  • Is it good for the brand?
  • Does it hurt the brand?
  • Does it undermine the marketing objective of the station?

The memo left the Shop Talk panelists flabbergasted.

Jasmine Crighton can’t believe Mowers sent such a memo.  Crighton said it was inappropriate and she hoped the news director had a conversation about it with Mowers.  She also suggested the station could help itself by making its app better.

Rich Egger said he witnessed similar behavior when he worked in commercial radio – someone from sales or marketing would occasionally try to dictate what was being covered.  He said most journalists don’t respond well to such advice. He also said one of the best things Mowers could hope to market is a newsroom that’s not influenced by outsiders.

Jonathan Ahl said this situation is akin to a marketing director at a hospital telling emergency room personnel not to treat the victims of violent crimes because those crime stories often end up in the news and might hurt the hospital’s brand.

Ahl said Mowers’ LinkedIn profile shows this is the third television station she’s worked for so she should know better.