20080331

The Main Line

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A Jericho Junction guest post by Welcome2CHO
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PUBLIC RELATIONS 101:
Don’t forget who brought you to the party!

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In my scant few pieces of down-time this week, I’ve worked to put together a post about the disappointment felt not only about Jericho’s cancellation, but also by the way in which the bad news was conveyed to us (or not). During the course of this week – has it been a week already? Boy, time flies when you’re having fun (or not!) – my point-of-view and my words have changed a thousand of times already.
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So, this is what I’m going to do: I’m going to post for posterity’s sake my original thoughts, but certainly not belabor them. Why? Because it’s done. Can’t change it, can’t wish it away, can’t dwell too long on the past if we expect to move forward and have half of chance of resurrecting Jericho once again – a topic which I’ll further address in just a moment.
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However, my original thoughts are a lesson in how I believe a network should treat fans, especially those of the Jericho ilk. And maybe even more importantly, maybe we will see this as a reminder to ourselves about how we should treat one another. We rise and fall together, and if we ever forget that, the battle is lost.
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Quickly, let me say that I give my thanks to CBS for giving us Jericho in the first place and then feeding our addictions with the additional seven episodes in the abbreviated Season 2. CBS had no obligation to do that for any of us, but it did, and I am grateful. Without CBS bringing Jericho to us, there would have been no party.
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On the other hand, as a network leader, I would expect CBS to be a leader for ALL times -- when times are great, when times are bad, and all those other times in-between. While that means acknowledging and celebrating successes, it also means taking full responsibility for your actions and not hiding behind double-speak, mixed messages, the ‘blame game,’ or, worst of all, just hiding.
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In my over 20 years of working within the public and governmental relations arena, I have seen people, organizations, and companies who have been the truest of leaders and others who were only pretenders.
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The difference between the two? Those who are most successful and have garnered the most respect are the ones who, first and foremost, recognize the value and the dignity of the individual and have enough humanity about them to understand that people’s feelings do matter.
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Sure, I’m upset about the cancellation, but I’m a big girl, and like the rest of the Jericho fans, I understand the world of business and economic realities. What is more bothersome, however, is CBS’ not talking to me/us like a grown-up(s) and having the important dialogue we deserve – especially after all the money, man-hours, and emotion we, as non-paid, non-professional marketers, have invested to promote CBS’ product.
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So, if network leader CBS were actually listening to me, and I had a mulligan to cash in, this is how I would have hoped the network would have honored us (because, after all, we fans brought CBS to the Jericho party, as well). In my perfect world, I would have said to CBS:
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Don’t release a terse cancellation statement on a Friday afternoon, a little before 5 p.m., and on a holiday weekend to boot. That’s a well-known, over-used trick employed by those who have bad news to impart -- and choose to bury it over a weekend and avoid the inevitable emotional response.
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Don’t allow your Friday afternoon statement to the media to substitute for direct communication to your fans. These folks kept the home fires burning for Jericho and CBS for over eight months before the Season 2 debut. They cared enough about the show and its cast and crew to fight to bring it back, and they sacrificed much in their personal lives to do the work that was asked of them by CBS’ Nina Tassler.
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At a minimum, fans were owed a post on the Jericho Web site, an e-mail to fans whose e-mails CBS possessed, etc.…..something, anything that paid homage to the fans’ loyalty and their wholehearted investment in the network and the show. They are owed the honest heart-to-heart talk from CBS re: economic realities and the affirmation that fans, if addressed properly, can handle the truth.
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Don’t place the onus of losing Jericho solely and squarely on the backs of fans. We are not professional marketers with unlimited amounts of time and money to expend – especially since all of us have other family, job, and real-life responsibilities that we cannot ignore, no matter how much we love Jericho. We have no control over the faulty Nielsen ratings, the long hiatuses at critical points in the show’s story, the day and time slot in which the show is placed, etc.
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Despite those challenges, however, we worked with what we were given, and we made history with what we did. Any implication whatsoever that blame should lie, for the most part, at the feet of fans is a true shirking of its own marketing/promotion responsibilities by the network.
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Don’t allow the lack of network communication to kill momentum; don’t wait till the last minute to seem even the least bit excited about promoting Season 2. The lag time between CBS’ announcement to resurrect Jericho and the announcement re: the exact time of its return could be deemed Purgatory. The silence from CBS was deafening. Yet, frustrate fans were expected to keep the excitement going, while CBS appeared to have no excitement of its own til closer to the Feb. 12th debut of Jericho.
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Don’t confuse fans with mixed messages. Season finale vs. series finale ‘hints’ in episode-closing voice-overs. A revamp of the Jericho Web site that created a perception of buy-in from the network. Network pronouncements of pride on the online/download numbers vs. Nielsen ratings. The list goes on and on….
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Don’t rub salt in the wound with headlines on the Web site that shout “It Doesn’t Have to End: You’ve watched the finale…now re-live the entire series online.” Ouch! CBS has never communicated directly to the fans re: the show’s cancellation, and it hasn’t acknowledged the pain it has caused fans who SO believed Jericho could live on at the Tiffany Network. It HAS ended at CBS, so the ‘doesn’t have to end’ line feels a little icky. On the other hand, please don’t take the board and its contents away any time soon!! (See? I am SO conflicted! J)
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Telling your most loyal, active, and engaged fans – without actually directly telling them -- that you have, once again, canceled Jericho, and though it’s been nice, my friends, it is over…fini…done….not open for debate…not worthy of a direct dialogue…for once and for all, end of discussion: well, let’s just say there are nicer, more responsible, more humane ways to end our date to the Jericho party. Yet, I’m happy that CBS took me there, anyway.
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That said, I will try to stretch my point re: dignity and respect to include fans’ response. We have to have respect, not necessarily have universal agreement, but certainly show respect for each other and the efforts we need to marshal in order to save Jericho.
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That means no bashing of CBS, no bashing of other networks that may or may not be considering pick-up of Jericho, and no bashing of each other’s ideas and efforts. We need to practice a little PR 101 ourselves, and remember that each one of us fans involved in this fight is important and deserving of dignity and respect. It takes all of us to create another rockin’ Jericho party.
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For those who intend to move forward, there are plenty of places to jump on board and latch on to some good solid efforts: Try the great ideas at GenPatton’s “Homebase: The New Save Jericho Campaign Thread” on the CBS board. JerichoNet2 and JKI are running at full steam with an impassioned Save Jericho campaign. Try Jeritopia and Radio Free Jericho as well, plus other sites like SciFi, CW (in conjunction with Supernatural fans), etc. No matter where you go, just GO…and DO SOMETHING!! I am not ready to let Jericho go just yet. Are you?? The past is the past, so let’s take any anger and disappointment we have felt and move forward to build an even greater Jericho future together.
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Thank you so much J!!! -b

17 comments:

MikesMom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MikesMom said...

Beautifully written! You are quite a writer and an amazing person and I am proud to call you my friend.

anamatopoeia said...

as always, i applaud your elocution and eloquence. thanks for the article!

erika said...

What a well written piece, voicing how many of us feel about our cancellation notice.

Thank you also for including many of our fan site options! Just one more... www.jerichorallypoint.com the place I called home way back when this all began.

Anonymous said...

I agree 1,000 percent and I'm SO glad you said it.
CBS showed poor class by not coming to the boards and talking to us. They showed their true colors. I am DONE with them and their network.
I hope that JERICHO gets picked up by a station that respects its programs AND its viewers.

lovejohnston

ccpdppr said...

Thank you for expressing so many of my own feelings so eloquently.

kystorms said...

Thank you for putting into words how I feel. I can not add a single comment to that article except to say thank you again to each and every fan who worked and continues to work so HARD. CBS might not seem to care about your hard work, but I sure as heck do!
God Bless all the fans of Jericho

Anonymous said...

Excellent, well-written reminder of why we fight! Ultimately, we all have the same goal however we choose to get there.

Thanks.

N2N2

AmyV said...

what she said!

GenPatton43 said...

W2Cho,

Excellent article COnsidering that evry other time CBS had breaking info in regards to Jericho, they told us. We may not have always liked what they had to say, but still, we were informed.
That did not happen this time and its sad, because for all intent and purposes, we worked side by side at with them to help this show succeed.

Jerichokeri said...

An extremely well written thought provoking article.I'm more motivated than ever. Thank you for the added inspiration.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful piece. Thank you for expressing so well what so many of us are feeling.

AnaLucia815

SueRN said...

You have written an article that should be required reading for all Jericho fans before posting a blog anywhere on a site dedicated to preserving/resoring Jericho.
Rational, non-abusive language will make Jericho fans have a much better chance at being heard than any of the crude, abusive language seen in so many of the posts out there.
Thank you.

Skeeterbit said...

Beautiful! Very, very well stated. I agree wholeheartedly and am so proud to campaign along side you.

lgl said...

WOW, just wow. Oh Captain my Captain! Love it. CBS needs people like you on staff, not p*ssed off.

Judy said...

Well done. Thank you for speaking so eloquently on behalf of your sisters, and all the fans.

blargh said...

Thank you for putting so eloquently into words my own feelings and thoughts. Well said!