I’ve had an email conversation with TMZARK’s news director, Austin Kellerman, and he confirmed that he had spoken with Arkansas Business about his organization’s newly adopted social media policies–the ones where they use pictures of dead & injured people for self-glorification. But Kellerman declined to answer any of my questions.
Now Kellerman’s comments to AB have been published, and here’s what we have learned:
1. TMZARK has heard me, they just don’t care.
From the article:
“I don’t think it’s fair for people to say we’re benefiting from it in any way,” Kellerman told Outtakes in an email. “This doesn’t help us grow our base or gain new fans…We’re simply giving an opportunity to people who already like our page to express themselves.”
And as AB’s Kate Knable correctly points out, that statement is not exactly true, regardless of Kellerman’s intentions. We have documented how TMZARK is benefiting from their strategy. Sorry you don’t think it’s fair, dude, but it is what it is.d
2. Kellerman is actually the one making these posts!
Seeing as how he is the news director, that probably explains why he hasn’t been fired.
“I posted a story on our Facebook page about a state trooper being shot outside of Hope. I was amazed by the response from people wishing him well in his recovery and sending their thoughts and prayers,” Kellerman said.
I’m so happy he amazed himself. Are the families of the deceased impressed?
3. “Kellerman doesn’t see the need to ensure that clicked thoughts and prayers reach the parties for whom they were intended.”
“In this day and age, I have no doubt friends and family of those involved will inform them about all the support they’ve received online,” he said.
Summary: this is all about supporting the families, but we don’t really care if they actually see the support.
Kellerman’s comments essentially confirm all of my suspicions about TMZARK: they don’t really care about the insensitivity or the people they’re hurting.
Don’t believe me? Think about it like this: the main goal is to ‘support the families,’ but nothing is done to let the families know about the ‘support & prayers?’ Because in the middle of their grief, the first thing a suffering family wants to do is wander out to TMZARK’s Facebook page and see a picture of their deceased loved one with 4,000 ‘likes,’ right?
I think if Kellerman were to be completely honest with us, he would admit that he’s not being completely honest with us or that he lacks a basic understanding of how social media works. Either way, for your sake, I sincerely hope none of your family members tragically die and you’re subjected to TMZARK’s compassion.