for 24 September 1996. Updated every TUESDAY.

BIG IDEA Lexis-Nexis meets Business Wire...
on the web!
25 WORDS <= An easily searchable web-based archive of
official statements and advertising copy,
Flacksis.com is the one-stop source that
helps turn journalistic investigation
into press-release regurgitation.
HARD SELL Originally used mostly as a legal
information service, the computer
database Lexis-Nexis has profoundly
changed journalism by giving "reporters"
easy access to almost everything
previously written about a given subject.
The proprietary online service isn't
cheap, but it saves so much time that
even the most penny-pinching of newsrooms
is reluctant to cut it, lest reporters
actually have to leave their desks and
rake through muck the old-fashioned way.
Unfortunately, what it doesn't provide is
often the most important ingredient in
today's news stories: a press release. If
said spin were available in a searchable
database, reporters could at last take
their phones off the hook and concentrate
on punditry and the ever-important
business of interacting with readers.
Flacksis.com solves this problem - for a
profit-generating price. Based on the
World Wide Web - where the line between
hacks and flacks is already as fuzzy as
the space between Pant-o-meter settings -
the service scales pricing to a
publication's size, thus ensuring that
even the smallest zine can be reached by
the circumlocutory powers of corporate
spin control. If the Internet will make
us all journalists, Flacksis.com will
make sure we're not all up at 3 A.M.
following firefighters. Naturally,
companies will pay handsomely to have
their promotional materials posted on the
service. For an additional fee, clients
will even be able to retroactively alter
overly optimistic press release
predictions to bring them in line with
subsequent reality.
OVERHEAD While designing the Flacksis.com database
would generate significant start-up
costs, the project would be dirt-cheap to
run from then on. Site maintenance would
be fairly inexpensive, and all of the
service's content represents profit - not
expense. Best of all, the site requires
no expensive promotion or advertising.
Instead, plans call for giving free
Flacksis accounts to high school and
college newspapers, thus ensuring that
the next generation of journalists never
learns how to live without it. By the
time those young people become
professionals, they'll be so desperate to
hide their lack of reporting skills that
Flacksis's steep monthly charge will seem
like a bargain. As "What? Are you on
Flack?" comes to replace today's snappy
rejoinder to slothful Zeitgeist surfing,
Flacksis will release a particularly
scathing statement denying the
similarities between this
try-now-pay-later promotion and the way
hard drugs are sold. Easily accessible in
the Flacksis database, it will slowly and
inexorably take on the ring of truth.

[Pitch Archive]

courtesy of
Dr. Dreidel