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10 Ways to Assault the Media

Paris Hilton doesn't have to do anything to get on TV, but the rest of us have to work at it

By Sara Bir

ADMIT IT—in your deepest, darkest heart of hearts, you dream of being an international superstar. Fortunately, in today's society it's a lot easier to be famous for 15 minutes that it was 3,000 years ago, when mass media was limited to stone tablets.

1) Do stuff for free. Money is cool, but you can't expect people to dole out the big bucks right off the bat. In fact, I am still waiting for people to dole out the puny bucks. Ask yourself what is more important: exposure or compensation? Oh yes, you know the answer.

2) Start small. An appearance on Oprah is something that millions clamor for. But an appearance on an obscure, independently produced local program is something that perhaps only dozens clamor for, thereby increasing your odds.

3) Have no quality standards whatsoever. Really, how many truly great programs and publications are there? Dream of 60 Minutes, settle for a 2am slot on local cable access. That way, the only place to go is UP!

4) Work at places where your bosses are in the media a lot. While working at several companies where the higher-ups have equally escalated media profiles (including a certain presently incarcerated media mogul), I was able to gain invaluable experience witnessing divas in action firsthand.

5) Be genuine. Don't go changing just to please an anonymous producer. What's your biggest selling point? YOU! Any schmuck can pretend to be an expert, but only you can do it with such exquisite personal flair.

6) Don't be flaky. Returning calls and emails promptly and arriving for appointments on time is one of the easiest way to fool people—including yourself—into thinking you're a pro.

7) Pretend you know what you are talking about, even if you don't. In accordance with the above, the appearance of confidence is imperative. While some media personalities are highly qualified and impressively knowledgeable in their field, most are just sweet-talking dunderheads. It's OK to join their ranks for the sake of exposure.

8) Exaggerate your credentials. You know you've done it on your résumé, so keep up the good work and lie some more. Remember: The smaller the show, the less likely they are to fact-check. This tacic bears some long-term risks, however, and could cost you your career down the road should you become a public figure.

9) Be nice to the little people. Receptionists, administrative assistants, recording engineers—these people are the ones who get none of the glory but who actually make things work; if you have a problem, they probably know how to fix it. Remember, you are a little person, too.

10) Do nothing. It worked for me!


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From the February 2-8, 2005 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

Copyright © Metro Publishing Inc. Metroactive is affiliated with the Boulevards Network.

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