Former News of the World journalist Kizzi Nkwocha says he is set to change the way the media buys exclusives by launching “the world’s first story auction website”, Kiss â€˜n’ Sell, the UK Press Gazette reports. On reading this I was set to write an indignant piece about the growth of cheque-book journalism and its distorting effect on news, undermining trust and so on….
Looking at Nkwocha’s presence on the web a rather different picture emerged, that of a self-publicist. Sure, there is the stub of a Wikipedia entry on him but I would not be surprised if he wrote it himself. Searching for an independent assessment of the man, I found an interview William Leith had written for the Standard in 2000. “I take everything he says with a pinch of salt. So should you,” Leith advised.
There is a Kiss ‘n’ Sell website: four stories for sale with starting prices of Â£50 or Â£100. They are, British psychic detective to aid Florida inmate, Sainsbury checkout girl gives birth to quads, world’s longest kiss record attempt and schoolboy set for world crossing record. There are no bids on any of them, although they all have a fortnight still to run.
Kiss ‘n’ Sell is one of a chain of sites. There is PRhg which quotes the BBC as saying: “Kizzi Nkwocha is regarded as one of the most respected media consultants in the world.” The Kizzi Nkwocha fan-site is notable from the absence of anything to suggest there are any fans. 15 minutes is an online agency for people who want to appear in the audience of talk shows, be interviewed by magazines or become film extras (a relaunch for the international market is promised). Most bizarre is the Church of Celebrity which states its beliefs as follows:
Celebrity is the religion of the 21st Century. Over the past one hundred years, established (antiquated) religions have lost their hold over millions worldwide. These ideologies and dogmas of an age gone by have been superseded by Celebtology.
In the place of older philosophies celebrities have become the focal point of our thoughts and hopes. Ask a teenager who Madonna is and they will reply: â€˜the singer of American Pie.â€™ This is a global phenomena. Footballer David Beckham is recognised by more people than David who fought Goliath in the Valley of Elah. Oprah Winfrey touches more lives than any historical religious iconâ€¦
Hallelujah… I can’t think of anything else to say after that.