Chrysler's "Spirit of Poetry" Haunted by Spirit of Payola

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago

Reading this morning's PR Newswire press releases, I clicked on "The New Chrysler Awards $5,000 in Prizes at 13th Annual 'Spirit in the Words' Poetry Program." Well, fair enough. Nice to see Detroit as a patron of the arts. A reporter for WALB-TV, an NBC affiliate television station in Albany, scooped the $3k first place award for his ode "Corporate Brutha." Huh? I had to backtrack. Normally, members of the media are barred from corporate competitions, for obvious reasons. It got worse. Turns out the Chrysler contest is restricted to members of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ). Huh X2? Since when is it OK a company to run a $5k cash contest for journalists? Since when is it OK for them to accept the money? Quite some time, apparently. "The Spirit in the Word poetry program has been offered at diverse journalism conferences throughout the U.S. including UNITY, the National Association of Black Journalists, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, the Asian American Journalists Association and the Native American Journalists Association." Shame on them.

Robert Farago
Robert Farago

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4 of 5 comments
  • Redbarchetta Redbarchetta on Aug 21, 2007

    The car in that picture, am I looking at the front or back? I see red lights but that sure looks like the front end of a car to me. Where do they come up with these designs? Ever though of hiring a designer with asthetic talent. I would offer up my talents except I wouldn't live in Detriot for all the money in the world.

  • Dean Dean on Aug 21, 2007

    The obvious implication is that Chrysler thinks these journos can be bought. As RF is implying, any journalist with a shred of ethics should tell Chrysler where to stick their prize. Both parties to a bribe are in the wrong.

  • Storminvormin Storminvormin on Aug 21, 2007

    Kevin: $5k prizes to visible minorities are significantly cheaper than trying to re-engineer that trash-heap line-up of theirs.

  • Mrcknievel Mrcknievel on Aug 22, 2007

    Chrysler is trying desperately to cash in on it's popularity in urban circles by sucking up to the NABJ. The 300, Charger and Magnum are pretty popular among the 20 + inch rim crowd and its only logical that they try to capitalize on this by hosting these "cheap" events that keep their name in plain sight. 5000 bucks for free press is a steal for a company that is throwing 3000 bucks on the hood to move a single car.