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George Clooney: An Advocacy Masterclass?

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George Clooney: An Advocacy Masterclass?

Post by Katiedot on Fri Apr 13 2012, 08:08

Here's a really great critique of George's use of celebrity.

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George Clooney: An Advocacy Masterclass?

Submitted by Sina Odugbemi on Tue, 04/10/2012 -

It is all too easy to be cynical about celebrities backing causes. You wonder: are they serious or is all this for show? Did the public relations people ask him or her to do it to sell more tickets or help recover from a scandal? And things have happened around celebrities championing all manner of causes that fuel the cynicism. A story in a recent issue of The New Yorker magazine covers the phenomenon very well: ‘Looking Good: The new boom in celebrity philanthropy’ by John Colapinto (March 26, 2012, page 56). In it you will find fascinating stories about what different celebrities have been up to and how things are turning out. This summing up attributed to Ken Berger of Charity Navigator, a watchdog group, says it all:

Stars raise awareness, but with heightened visibility come the problems endemic to fame –scandals, P.R.-mongering, wavering commitment, and what Berger calls “the cluelessness factor” – all of which can undermine support for a cause.

There are celebrities who insist on being treated like royalty, to such an extent, in fact, that most of the money they help to raise is spent on them and their hangers-on.

But I must say that I have been impressed with George Clooney and the work he has been doing on Darfur and South Sudan for many a year now. Each time I have watched him on Charlie Rose Show or on Fareed Zakaria’s Global Public Square, he has appeared knowledgeable, concerned, focused, and committed to the struggle for the long run.

There is a segment from his last appearance on Charlie Rose Show, along with one of this partners, John Prendergast (on March 15, 2012), that I want to bring to your attention because it struck me for a different reason: his surprisingly subtle reflections on the techniques of advocacy. The entire segment is worth watching, especially his analysis of why you need stamina when your advocacy is about a problem that is going to take a long time to fix. Then, in the exchange below, he talks about why it is crucial to understand news cycles if you are going to be an effective advocate:

George Clooney and John Prendergast on Sudan: [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
(Clooney on Arab Spring starts at 28:25)

Charlie Rose: Here is one lesson that comes out of this, it seems to me, is that if you’re going to bring whatever advantage there is to celebrity, and it’s significant, you gotta pick your spots. Is that the lesson here for you in Sudan?

George Clooney: I think-I think- that if I have a talent at this-and John will maybe disagree or agree, I’m not sure but-my version of this is understanding news cycles pretty well. And understanding that, you know, after the referendum, for instance, and you know there were a lot of things going on afterwards, but there was also an Arab Spring, and I said we have to lay low now, we have to let the Arab Spring do its thing. You have to pick and find your place, where you can then find a news cycle…now there is Syria and Afghanistan just heated up again… but there’s still, there’s a place now…there is air for us to be able to talk about something very important and brewing and happening. But, its usually about, you know, you can’t have a constant drip of misery. There is donor fatigue, there is misery fatigue… you have to do hard, quick, condensed hits of it to get people aware, to have them understand what’s going on and then to give them room.

Charlie Rose: You gotta know things to make a difference.

A clueless celebrity? I don’t think so.




Katiedot
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Re: George Clooney: An Advocacy Masterclass?

Post by party animal - not! on Fri Apr 13 2012, 10:51

Yep, he understands the wider Press implications of such huge events, and how timing is so important - as well as deadlines.

Let's hope that the next story we hear is a positive one. That humanitarian corridors have been set up with all parties cooperation and that aid is getting thro before the rainy season.

I'm sure he's doing all he can to monitor that one and follow through on that one on any every day basis.

And he would have made a great broadcast journalist - if he'd stuck the course! Sort of the best of both worlds now tho for him

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Re: George Clooney: An Advocacy Masterclass?

Post by Katiedot on Fri Apr 13 2012, 11:45

Yes, it's ironic isn't it that he flunked his college course because he felt he could never compare to his father and yet we see that if he'd tried he probably would have been good at it.

Ah well, journalism's loss; our gain.

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Re: George Clooney: An Advocacy Masterclass?

Post by Lighterside on Fri Apr 13 2012, 15:31

Ah well, journalism's loss; our gain.

I agree Katie! I'm so glad he decided to pursue "other" things even beyond acting as well...most especially directing. I don't think we've seen his best work yet in that arena and when you consider the iconic work of GNGL it is an amazing statement to make but I believe that he hasn't shown us his best work to date in directing. He has a phenomenal "eye" for setup and filming in my opinion.

As for his humanitarian work...I'm REALLY glad someone has called out the "nay sayers" on whether or not he's committed to his causes or just doing it to raise his own profile. He and John have done more to help those people and call the world's attention to their plight than anyone has and I'm sure they are eternally grateful for the help. Using technology to shine a light on the "cockroaches" was George's idea and it's impossible to say how many lives have been saved because of it.

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Re: George Clooney: An Advocacy Masterclass?

Post by MM on Fri Apr 13 2012, 16:48

And he would have made a great broadcast journalist - if he'd stuck the course! Sort of the best of both worlds now tho for him

Katiedot wrote:Yes, it's ironic isn't it that he flunked his college course because he felt he could never compare to his father and yet we see that if he'd tried he probably would have been good at it.

Ah well, journalism's loss; our gain.

If 18 year old George Clooney was standing right in front of me, this is the advice I would give him (I used to send out resumes of college students to potential employees years ago during the earlier part of my career at the University of Cincinnati):

Get a dual four-year bachelor degree in Radio/Television Broadcasting and Film/Photography, minor in Journalism/PR, with a diploma in Drama, do TV and community theater whenever possible, and then go to LA and seek your fortune. He would have had a easier time breaking into TV, because he could have had a job working in a TV studio as a technician of some sort, or working on movie set as a technician of some sort. By doing so, he would have been better off financially, and not have to had struggled doing the low-paying jobs that he did.

But, let's be realistic here, shall we? Eighteen-year-old George probably would have thumbed his nose at my suggestion, given me the one-finger salute behind my back, and followed his own mind. Oh, well, the bull-headedness of youth.

MM
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Re: George Clooney: An Advocacy Masterclass?

Post by melbert on Sat Apr 14 2012, 00:23

and he didn't turn out too badly...

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Re: George Clooney: An Advocacy Masterclass?

Post by Joanna on Sat Apr 14 2012, 00:27

I think he's followed his own star and probably had help from his Uncle George & his Aunt Rosemary all along the way all the time.

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Re: George Clooney: An Advocacy Masterclass?

Post by it's me on Sat Apr 14 2012, 12:58

sweet thought Give Flowers

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Re: George Clooney: An Advocacy Masterclass?

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