Today we continue the bombshell revelations from Teen Mania’s former head of Marketing. This comes from a facebook conversation on a public wall just after the Mind Over Mania documentary aired in November 2011. The entire conversation was over 60 comments and I’ve edited it down to what is most relevant and newsworthy. (As you can imagine, many of the comments were about how I’m malicious and wrong.) Again, emphasis in bold is mine.
Jeremy: well, there’s more. When I got to the ministry and started leading their marketing strategy department (the 9th person in 4 years), one of my main tasks was to “git rid of Recovering Alumni” on the internet from an SEO and digital PR standpoint. And, we did just that…built the systems and content necessary to wage an SEO war with RA. And we were largely successful. By the end of about 6 months of effort, we had knocked most of RA content to the second page of Google under “honor academy” and convinced google not to allow them to run AdWords under the keyword “honor academy”…in the process of combating RA, I was required (like any PR person worth their salt) to research the basis of the content we were trying to combat. Sadly I was unable to defend much of the negative because it actually happened. But that was my job, so I continued to do my job. but now, since no one is left (they like to fire people who come from the corporate world to impact TMMs success as “not a good fit”) to continue this, all that work is probably lost…but they can sleep in the bed they made for all I care.
Jeremy: yea, Mind Over Mania was a horrible piece of “journalism”, but it did at least rekindle the conversation in a very public way – a conversation that must be had.
Alumnus 2: This is an interesting thread (to say the least). I have a lot of thoughts…say what you will about RA but from what I saw, she confronted TMM and was told that they were going to investigate her claims, then they basically said – sorry – no investigation and immediately published their response website. If I had been hurt, confronted who I perceive to be my abuser, been led to believe that my voice was being heard (which would bring amazing healing) only to be dismissed and find that a website had been posted attempting to discredit my hurt…Well, I’d be more than upset.
Jeremy: they did “investigate” their claims…but they did so without an objective eye and with a pre-determined vision of it’s outcome and that predetermined vision of the outcome of the “investigation” was that TMM needs to listen to them, coddle them a bit so they feel heard and then dismiss all the issues that came to light with a tacit apology rather than critically looking internally at the issues and addressing them with humility and an awareness that they have some level of responsibility in the results the ministry had on these people. Then, in true TMM bad PR form, they reacted (against a lot of advice to the contrary) and developed the recoveringalumnirepsonse.com website (that has since been taken down) because RA was killing them at the intern recruitment level and causing scores of young people to back out of the internship (this last August class came in at 230 rather than the traditional 400+)…and with 42% of the intern tuition being “net excess” (basically meaning that 42% of their tuition amount was profit that can be diverted to other parts of the ministry) – that was KILLING their bottom line.
Jeremy: And, about that 42% net excess figure that I threw out, keep in mind that the amount of $ TMM spends on it’s interns per meal is less than the Texas penitentiary system spends on it’s inmates per meal. So, that puts into perspective of how valuable an intern is to the bottom line and function of the organization.
Jeremy: It’s business….keeps the lights on and the ATFs happening. ATF’s bring the missionaries for GE and the interns for the HA…they all work in tandem together. ATF is generally is consistently in the red and GE has a nice net excess as well. The margins on GE trips are well into the high teens and low to mid twenties