Behind the scenes with TLC and Discovery’s publicist

On New Year’s Day, The New York Times’ Brian Stelter published a fascinating profile of publicist Laurie Goldberg, who’s the executive vice president of public relations for both Discovery and TLC. She manages the often controversial network’s publicity efforts by working behind the scenes, and the piece offers insight into the role and work of a (powerful) publicist. Among its revelations:

  • “…public relations pros are often intimately involved in the decision-making at TV channels.”
  • “while Ms. Goldberg is genial and helpful with reporters off the record, she routinely doles out no-comments to them on the record, thereby refusing to make big stories bigger
  • When the All-American Muslim/Lowe’s story broke, “behind the scenes she was trying to influence reporters’ views of the mostly imaginary boycott, counseling the show’s cast to stay positive and answering a call from the music and fashion entrepreneur Russell Simmons, who had pledged to buy up any remaining ad time.”
  • “Ms. Goldberg forges close friendships with the cast members of TV shows — as shown by the Facebook conversations — and guides them through the glare of the press.
  • “Perhaps Ms. Goldberg’s most sensitive project was Ms. Palin’s reality show, for which she put aside her strong Democratic views. She traveled to the Palins’ home in Wasilla repeatedly, dining one night on smoked caribou and salmon that had been hunted and fished by Todd Palin. She even baby sat the children one rainy day when, in a programming stunt of sorts, Ms. Gosselin went camping with Ms. Palin.”

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