Media companies across the U.S. are tackling coverage of a global pandemic and national lockdown for the first time in modern history. Condé Nast’s approach to the ordeal? A sense of “cautious optimism.”
In an internal memo obtained by WWD, Condé Nast chief content operations officer Christiane Mack advocates for the company’s various media properties to approach the coronavirus with a sense of positivity. Her e-mail outlines a bullet-point list of positive headlines and news bits about the virus for Condé Nast higher-ups to consider, purporting that the list had been “compiled from Bloomberg.”
“I think we should take a page from this book for cautious optimism in our content,” urged Mack.
The list of talking points includes: “China has closed down its last coronavirus hospital. Not enough new cases to support them,” and “Italy is hit hard, experts say, only because they have the oldest population in Europe.”
Other points include: “Apple reopens all 42 China stores,” and “All seven patients who were getting treated at Safdarjung Hospital in New Delhi have recovered.”
Upon research, WWD found that the list of 15 headlines was not sourced from Bloomberg, but was instead a composite of varying truths that appear to have gone viral in various Reddit threads and e-mail chains.
The e-mail is said to have been further circulated by Condé artistic director and Vogue editor in chief Anna Wintour, who forwarded the e-mail to friends and associates craving positive news or looking for best-practice advice on addressing the pandemic in their own communication channels.
Wintour’s daughter, Bee Shaffer Carrozzini, also circulated the e-mail on Tuesday, sending it to friends desperate for upbeat news while under lockdown in New York City.
By Wednesday afternoon, the memo — despite its misinformation — had become a viral e-mail chain among small brands and artistic entrepreneurs and was seen as a blueprint for addressing the virus with a positive tone in business marketing and content.
A Condé Nast spokesperson declined to comment on the memo.
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