Today we got an email in our inbox from Tommy Davis, the International Spokesman for the Church Of Scientology. Why did he think to send US a message? Weird!
Anyhoo, Tommy has unveiled a “Newsroom” for members of the media. The mission: “To provide journalists worldwide with 24/7 news on the Church of Scientology’s explosive growth – whether it’s the opening of a new Church (eleven across six nations have cut the ribbon in the last year alone), or the full story on the completion of the 25-year project to fully restore and publish more than 2,500 books and lectures of Church founder L. Ron Hubbard — the Church is pleased to inaugurate the first comprehensive online media resource, the Scientology Newsroom (www.scientologynews.org).”
The site responds to all the controversy with an extensive photo gallery of church openings, a mainstream-y video like you’d see on jury duty and FAQs on “What Is A Scientology Wedding?” and “What Is The Sea Organization?” According to the Church, members of the Sea Org – who devote their lives to Scientology – “work long hours and live communally with housing, meals, uniforms, medical and dental care, transport and all expenses associated with their duties provided by the Church.”
Yay! Except stories like this give us pause. The media newsroom/resource for journalists must be part of a new strategy for Scientology leaders, who typically reach out to reporters who write about the Church through leaving a series of strangely timed phone messages.
At least, from experience. After writing a straightforward news-wire piece on Katie Holmes‘ Broadway debut in All My Sons and including a line about Scientology protesters outside the theater – because that’s what happened! - we received a phone call from a Church representative every Wednesday around 2:30 p.m.
What did they want us to do? Take the story down? Not report the news as it was happening? Impossible!