JMSNews
The J. Michael Straczynski Message Archive

 

JMSNews provides an archive of messages posted
by J. Michael Straczynski (JMS).

  Home      Community Forums      Contest      Links      FAQ      About JMS     

RSS Feed  

 Search all Messages

   Sort by: 

This field searches the text of all messages in the archive.

 Message
    From: jmsatb5@aol.com (Jms at B5)
 Subject: Coverage in STARLOG
      To: rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated  
    Date: 2/19/1995 9:43:00 AM  

  << Newer  : List :  Older >>

No Thread 


Clarifications and elaborations upon your note.

I wasn't addressing articles "on spec," which I know they don't much
buy over there. But there are many, many article writers who use the
same interview for different magazines, sometimes avoiding competing
marketplaces, sometimes in different countries. There are some writers
working out of the UK who interview me, and the material ends up in
Starburst or TV Zone or other magazines there. A writer may be on an
assignment from Sci-Fi Universe or Cinefantastique, and may also write
for Starlog. My request to those writers is that you can use any interview
with me for any of those publications except Starlog.

While I know that Starlog has, from time to time, done articles on
other shows, or the rare insightful piece, it remains almost primarily a
Star Trek/Paramount flack. At the moment, I'm holding the current issue
in my hands. It has *18 pages* of Star Trek related ads; Patrick Stewart
wall plaques; Patrick Stewart Photo Book; Star Trek Collector's Chess Set;
Deep Space Nine Magazine; Star Trek mouse pads; Picard figures; Seatrek
95; Cruise Trek; Star Trek pins; Star Trek conventions; Star Trek
soundtracks; Brent Spiner records; TNG magazine; TNG holographic t-shirts;
Star Trek posters; more Star Trek t-shirts; Star Trek Collector's
Portfolio; Star Trek blueprints; more Star Trek posters; the Voyager
magazine...all this in just ONE issue.

Is there anything WRONG with any of this? Absolutely not. But it
does tell us a little about what they are. And what they're not.

STARLOG is not a magazine covering the science fiction media scene.
It is a Paramount/Star Trek flack publication that INCLUDES some limited
coverage of other stuff, at its whim. Other series come on the air, and
the attitude is "Well, let's see what happens after they've been on the
air for a long time before we give them any coverage." VOYAGER is
announced and the coverage is almost ORGASMIC...cover stories, one feature
article after another after another, in many cases before the show even
hits the airwaves.

But that's different, because that's the company that buys 80% o
their advertising space. Which, again, is fine...just don't pretend to be
something other, because the editorial policy follows the line of the
money for the ads. Which isn't immoral, it simply is. STARLOG has no
motivation to be responsible, or even-handed, or even accurate, when it
comes to covering non-Star Trek shows; it doesn't have to since the bulk
of its money comes from Star Trek and Paramount. So it can operate under
the whim, or pique, of its editors more so than a more general-interest SF
magazine.

I stopped cooperating with Starlog because I got tired of their
inaccuracies in interviews I participated in, tired of screwed up credits
and pictures; especially tired of cheap-shot articles that bitched about
how the last Twilight Zone series was being done so that MGM would have
enough to syndicate so they wouldn't lose their shirts, totally eliminating
the possibility that the stories told there could have ANY merit when
the financing was for profit (like Star Trek is being made by Paramount
out of their concern for the commonweal and to cure cancer)...tired of the
obvious editorial bias. I received direct word from Starlog reporters that
there would never be a B5 cover because of the editor's pique, obviously
hoping that if such was withheld, maybe the show would die and the problem
would be obviated. Well, we didn't go away, and now the pressure and the
obviousness of their omission has forced them into doing a B5 cover.

I'm sorry, but I've worked as a journalist for publications like the
Los Angeles Times, TIME Incorporated, the Los Angeles Herald Examiner, and
I've *seen* how editors should run their bureaus. STARLOG ain't run that
way. It is, purely and simply, a Star Trek magazine with pretensions of
being something other. Now, if all you want really is Star Trek coverage,
and maybe to keep informed of other stuff...that's nothing less than
spiffy. But please don't try to convince me of anything else, because it
simply ain't so. And the conflict of interest is so thick you could cut
it with a spoon; they know they can't piss off Paramount because if
Paramount pulled their ads on Monday, on Tuesday STARLOG would be out of
business, as opposed to magazines that may have a more general, and thus
less controlling, slate of advertisers.

After my last communication with STARLOG, I'd nominally decided to
withhold ALL cooperation with the magazine, including my cast, directors,
everyone. Subsequently, I realized that this would be unfair to those
people, who deserve some recognition for their work and publicity for
their careers. Unlike STARLOG's editors, I don't impose my personal
pique upon my work situation. I will withhold any personal interviews,
however. Which probably suits them just fine anyway.

So in the end...everyone's happy.

jms

Site © 2008 Midnight Design Productions  -  Message content © 2008 by Synthetic Worlds  -  Privacy Statement