Letter:'Nice' Isn't News -- and It's Not Very Entertaining

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Tad Clarke asked, "When will the mainstream media portray direct marketing in a better light instead of just taking easy potshots" at it ("When?" May 5)? I'm afraid the answer is, when they start reporting on people who do good turns for one another, rather than the ones who engage in rape and murder ... or when they report on companies that make a fair profit, treat their employees well and pay their taxes, rather than on the ones that lie, cheat and steal from their customers, employees and shareholders. Probably never.

"Nice" is not news. And it's usually not even very entertaining. It's the Seven Deadly Sins that captivate people's attention. So that's what the media give us. Not likely to change. So what do we do about it? Rather than wonder when the media will see the light, I think we've got to do a better job of shedding some light.

How about if we were to use the media to tell the stories we want out there? Like case studies focusing on how virtually every significant media company applies direct mail and other direct response marketing strategies to build their subscriber and customer bases. Or human interest stories on how virtually every politician in the country employs direct mail and other DM tactics to generate contributions and political support. Or how our industry doesn't shy away from putting a spotlight on the frauds, data thieves and scam artists of the world, but isolates them and spares no effort in seeing to it that they are not only put out of business, but put away. (Of course, first we've got to make that true, but that's another story.)

Donn Rappaport, Chairman/CEO, American List Counsel, Princeton, NJ



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