Does anyone else find something vaguely ridiculous about Beyoncé being awarded a prize for journalism by Essence magazine? On May 15th, the New York Association of Black Journalists in association with the magazine, will award Beyoncé first-place prize in “arts and entertainment writing” in its magazine category. There are 39 other winners who will also receive an award on the night. What a surprise to realise that award winning journalism is being written at the rate of one article every nine days!
Beyoncé’s cover story from last year, called derivatively, “Eat, Play, Love” has been named best in category and chronicled her 9-month sabbatical from her hectic recording career. Written in the first-person, the article gave readers an insight into the breakthroughs Beyoncé enjoyed while travelling the world.
Readers looking for insights will be delighted to know that Beyoncé discovered she “loved artichokes and that a salad and fresh fish are not only healthy choices but incredibly delicious.” In the article she also noted that “All over Italy, the streets smell like gelato.” Did even she realise that this was award winning stuff?
The PR Verdict: “F” For Essence Magazine and its cynical and embarrassing ploy to garner publicity for its award show. Column inches have been secured but most are vaguely derisory. Bad move.
PR Takeaway: Not all publicity is good publicity. This is one case where the snarky tone of most of the coverage of the upcoming event has already diminished the value and integrity of the 39 other prizewinners. Getting a celebrity to attend is one thing, giving her a prize for journalism is quite another. Does Beyoncé need another prize? She could have been easily comforted by one of her 16 Grammy awards if she was feeling blue.
What’s your PR Verdict?