Wednesday, September 10, 2008

TVFN's Lack of Cooperation

Near the end of July, I sent an e-mail to Lisa Garza, finalist on the Next Food Network Star, asking if she would allow me to interview her. The very gracious Garza responded that she would love to talk to me, but being that she had already gotten herself in trouble by commenting on blogs, we would have to go through Food Network PR. She supplied a name and the corresponding e-mail address.

I wrote to this person a couple of times in August, a week or two apart, politely inquiring if she could forward a few questions to Lisa from me. No response at all, which I thought was rude. My next prong of attack was to e-mail Adam Roberts, the blogger also known as the Amateur Gourmet, and ask him if he could supply me with a different name from the PR department (he has an online gig with the Food Network). He said he didn't know anyone in that area, but he would forward my inquiry to his associate producer. A few weeks have gone by and still no response, (and I have no reason to doubt that Adam did forward my message, and likely his AP did as well).

The other day, I scoured the Food Network Web site for another e-mail address that might get me some results. (At this point, "f*ck you, we hate bloggers" would constitute a result of some kind.) The only thing I found that was vaguely related involved auditioning for NFNS 5 (yes, another trainwreck for your viewing displeasure coming soon!) I sent a message to this address, yet again requesting an interview with Lisa. And maybe adding a small grumble about not getting a response from PR.

My thoughts: If the person to whom I wrote at FN PR no longer works there, shouldn't her e-mails be forwarded to the next available rep? A Public Relations department exists to promote; do they not see my request to speak to one of their personalities as a way to promote the Food Network? If they do not want to let Lisa speak, how hard is it for them to e-mail me with some lame "she's under contract" excuse? Or would that be a violation of the First Amendment, so rather than coming out and saying it, they choose to ignore the situation? She may not be able to speak about the show, but who is to say that I want to ask her about that at all? Why do they feel the need to limit any or all of her speech? (Is she still allowed to talk to her husband, for example?) Am I being discriminated against because I am a blogger? (Actually, I asked a former contestant from a couple of seasons back and he basically confirmed that yes, Food Network hates bloggers. If that's true, then why do they employ bloggers - see above?)

Or is FN PR just too lazy to respond one way or the other? I've become used to working with various PR reps from both the fashion/beauty and television industries over the past several months and all of them have been beyond helpful, kind, generous, and all around great to work with. I expect that from everyone in the field at this point. Are my expectations too high?

What are your thoughts? Anyone had a similar experience to share?