It’s Oscar season again and I am always reminded of a personal episode of when getting a good story showed no limits. The annual Academy Awards are probably second only to the Super Bowl for being the most heavily hyped and well-covered media event of the year. And this year undoubtedly will be no exception. It’s the one time of the year that PR’s second cousins, celebrity publicists, get to dress up and prowl the red carpet in a symbiotic relationship with the hundreds of journalists from around the globe that have descended upon Hollywood for that one glamorous evening. The publicists want coverage for their “star“ client, and the journalists want an “inside” scoop, a tidbit they might label as an exclusive amongst the well rehearsed platitudes.
A few years back before social media made exclusives as archaic as the VHS tapes sent to Academy members for their vote, I was given two tickets to attend the Oscars from a member friend unable to use them. After telling my wife, who immediately panicked over what to wear, I told a close friend of my good fortune who of course would be watching from home. What I forgot was that his wife just happened to write a syndicated newspaper column, carried among others, by the New York Times. She immediately volunteered to assist my wife and her close friend, with her fashion advice in return for a journalistic favor…an interesting and unusual one, it turned out. Knowing that women often make the trip to the proverbial powder room a communal affair in combination of two or more, would my wife take advantage of this fact in her own visits and keep a keen ear open for celebrity gossip while powdering her nose? Being reasonably sure such conversations were not protected under the First Amendment or some legal privilege statute…and in need of that fashion advice…my wife agreed.
The result…a column not so revealing in salacious gossip as it was a funny, back-stage glimpse of Oscar night from a heretofore never thought of point of view. It also I believe, established a permanent rule on Oscar night about journalists eves dropping in either genders restrooms. And my wife ultimately solved her fashion dilemma on her own by tailoring a man’s tuxedo to fit her slim figure beautifully. Fortunately, she was never asked, ‘whom are you wearing?’