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3/05/2007

Al Gore Named MEDIA's Person Of The Year

Editorial Commentary
Full Publication
By Joe Mandese,

Monday, Mar 5, 2007
BEFORE TELLING YOU WHY WE selected Al Gore as our person of the year, and who he was up against, let me explain what this honor entails. It is simply the person or persons that the editors of MEDIA magazine felt had the biggest impact on our world over the past year.
And if you've been reading MEDIA magazine for the past few years, you already know that our world is media - and that we think everything in the world is a medium. What we didn't anticipate was just how effectively someone could use media to help save the world.
Fittingly, the effort began a year ago when Mr. Gore unveiled his media strategy for saving the planet during a keynote at the American Association of Advertising Agencies' Media Conference, at which he showed a sneak preview of "An Inconvenient Truth," and laid out a multimedia plan for spreading the word about the imminent perils of global warming. A year later, few people are arguing with its message, other than those with apparent vested interests in sustaining policies that do not favor the planet. The world's leading scientists recently issued a report asserting with 95 percent surety that human behavior is contributing to global warming and that it is having a fundamental impact on our ability to continue living on this planet.
The facts have been there all along. And, I imagine, so has a latent recognition of them. What was needed was a galvanizing force to trigger the awareness. What was needed was brilliant communication. Gore and his team did their research, produced a powerful piece of cinema, an indelible book, and one of the most effective communications campaigns I've ever covered. But the most incredible part of it wasn't what they did in Hollywood, on Madison Avenue, on Broadcast Row, or even in the blogosphere. The most incredible part was what they provoked in our consciousness. They got us to think. And they got us to think about something that would otherwise be convenient not to.
The truth is, Gore was up against some pretty stiff competition this year, and an eclectic mix at that. The finalists under consideration by our team included: the management team at Google, the founders of YouTube, Steven Colbert, and even - yes, we love gimmicks too - "you." Surely each fundamentally influenced our world, but none so potentially long-term as Al Gore. Now you might find it odd that, given such importance, MEDIA didn't devote a multiple page spread and feature story to our Person of the Year. Actually, in deference to Gore, we chose not to squander any precious environmental resources. That said, we should point out that he garnered more pulp this year than our Person of the Year for 2006, Apple's Steve Jobs, who somehow didn't even make it onto a page in last year's "nonlinear" issue. Though he did end up on one of our pages that was displayed on a Clear Channel billboard in Times Square.
Joe Mandese is Editor of MediaPost.
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