Fishbowl5: Palin’s Alaska Behind the Online Scenes

There are six episodes of TLC’s “Sarah Palin’s Alaska” to go. And today Brian Reich of “little m media” is going skeet shooting at a firearms training center in New Jersey so he and his staff of bloggers, editors and researchers can get a feel for the Palins. TLC hired Reich hired to do digital media promotion, which means two blogs, twice weekly podcasts and interviews like this in which we grill him about Palin haters and what he really thinks about Palin’s g-dropping.

He’s long winded (or else I’m impatient today) — at some points I interrupted his blather to dig for other details.  At times I held the phone in the air while he driveled thoughts that were never going to appear in print. Don’t miss Question #4. Turns out profanity is allowed on the site if it’s favorable for the show. So “fucking awesome?” Allowed. Fucking awful? Forbidden.

Let’s begin.

1. How do you feel about Sarah Palin dropping the g’s on the ends of her words? Since we deal with mostly in written stuff it ends up not mattering to us. When we transcribe things, which is not that often, we don’t drop the g’s. You write the words normally as in you don’t drop the g’s even if she does? In most cases, no. It’s nice because we try to support a conversation and she is definitely trying to express herself like a normal person would. That’s normal? I grew up in Seattle. I live in New York where there is all kinds of letters that are omitted. She is talking how she’d normally talk. Endearing is the wrong word. It’s humanizing.

2. Do you actually enjoy the sound of her words? I find the back and forth of the show amusing. I think they talk like a normal family, normal people that I know. I actually enjoy it. I know some people have criticized. I actually watch it and laugh out loud quite the bit.

3. As you know, there are a lot of critics of the show. What do you have to say to the naysayers? The whole reason why TLC hired me is because we knew people would have very strong opinions about Sarah Palin, her family, and what they thought the show was about. I think the naysayers that we’ve seen particularly on line, particularly the haters, refuse to come at it with that open mind. They predetermine what the show is about. Our approach is we’re not trying to change people’s views of her or the show. We’re trying to have an open conversation about it. Some people have been underwhelmed by the show.

4. Are there rules for what people can or cannot say online? We have clear community rules. We want the conversation to be appropriate, no foul language, no hate, no threatening comments. We are absolutely open to cultivating multiple perspectives. What do you do with people who break the rules? We’ve had to block them and remove them. We don’t want to do that. We give people wide latitude. Proper use of profanity is not going to get erased. If someone says that show is fucking awesome it’s not going to get erased. It it’s appropriate swearing. I think those numbers are fortunately getting smaller.

5.  What do you think of Palin? I met her two months ago when we outlined the digital social marketing strategy. We’re not promoting Sarah Palin. We’re pro TLC, we’re pro Sarah Palin the show.

Check out WCP‘s Moe Tkacik’s recent offbeat interview with Reich here.