Woe for Womans day


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The Geek

Grand Master Geek
Premium Geek
Jan 9, 2003
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Leeds, UK
Thanks to our freakin meepin geekette 'Laystar', I have now read the Dec 5th article on MMA and nails. I thought it best to give my critique of the piece.

Before we begin... let me start by saying that magazine and TV bits are very difficult to do and can easily go awry like this one has done. Why? Because it is very hard to manage the angle of the story you are being interviewed about. Most journalists only want quick snippets and sound bytes that grab their audiences’ attention. That usually translates to 'Sensationalism'. We (the interviewed) often find ourselves treading very carefully in an attempt to prevent sensationalism from rearing its ugly head, or to ensure that what we are saying can not be taken out of context. After all that work ensuring that the story will be a positive for the readers (or viewers), it can still all be in vain as you can still end up being misquoted or quoted out of context.

The article
The first 2/3rds of the article was angled at the ‘deadly use of MMA’. Yes, it was overzealous and sensational… but it also had a couple of decent points and was not (in my opinion) particularly bad for the industry. As the first portion of the article was so negative, they turn the last portion around by claiming that ‘responsible salons use EMA’.

Jacqui Jefford is then quoted as saying that 'Reputable salons do not use electric drills or MMA'.
I personally find it hard to believe that Jacqui actually made that statement in that context as I happen to know Jeff quite well (see, I even have a cute nickname for her). I could see if she had finished the statement by saying 'on the nail plate'. Regardless, it is still a major concern as it claims that drills=bad techs and we all know that this simply isn’t true. In fact, I have just gotten off of the phone with Jeff who clarified quite a lot. Yes, Jeff was the victim of a misinformed, misquoting journalist.

The statement 'MMA is so brittle and rigid that the slightest knock can damage the nail underneath.' is true (though I would argue that it takes a healthy knock, and that MMA isn’t as brittle as it is strong... though saying that it is hard to communicate these terms to the general public without breeding misconceptions).

The next paragraph is correct, but only when applied to a relevant context. In the article, Jeff is quoted as saying that reputable salons take 1.5 - 2 hours to complete a set at a charge of £45-£75. Everyone (except sadly consumers) knows that this is subject to skill level and locale. Many techs do decent jobs at 1 hour and £25, some do crappy jobs at 3 hours and £1,000,000. Full sets in London cost far more on average than in Derby.

The article then provided a 'How to have healthy acrylic nails section’ at the bottom of the page. Seldom (if ever) is this done and I give credit to the rag for doing it (most rags only want to sensationalize the negatives). Saying that... there are a few problems with the points that it makes.
At first, the points are actually very good, until we hit the drill issue again. Here I say again, I feel that as the bit was talking about 'exfoliating the nail plate' (i.e. 'removing the shine'), I can only assume that Anne Swain was stating that drills should not be used on the natural nail plate. This is a position I share. There are people who are trained with using electric files on enhancements and as long as they don’t touch the natural nail plate, I am fine with it. Sure this point will be argued by many, but lets not go there as you just plain can’t convince me.

Then there is a massive screw up. They write ‘EPA, which unlike MMA can be soaked off should be used to form the acrylic nail.’ This is a complete shock to me. Silly me thought that the Environmental Protection Agency had little to do with nails whilst EMA was always the better option for ‘acrylic nails’. O well, you learn something new everyday.

Spelling error you say? Maybe. However the next point goes on to explain that ‘the EPA is layered on in stages’. Damn those governmental agencies.

The second to last point left me even more perplexed when it stated ‘The plastic tips should be added after the acrylic is applied’. Sheesh… all these years I have been doing it wrong… do you think they are easier to blend if that’s the case? Obviously someone has completely screwed up the facts.

The sidebar of terror accomplishes little other than freaking out the general consumer. Actually… it also does accomplish something else… it shows that even many professional technicians don’t know what MMA is. The person interviewed was also interviewed on Watchdog. The same person where they showed the MMA being soaked off. Folks… MMA does not soak off like that… In other words… the damaged that was inflicted upon this consumer was done with an EMA based system using NSS techniques. The entire hullabaloo has less to do with MMA and more to do with the techniques employed by Non Standard Salons to apply nails.

So what?
So… what to do? Not a lot can be done as the damage has already been done. Once again our industry takes a kick in the gut via misquotes and misunderstanding. Yes this is a travesty for the industry… but lets face it, sensationalism has a shelf lie that makes milks look biblical.
What this does, is teach us how to approach consumers and media… with care.

Lets face it. When the jolly ol journalist comes knocking at your door, they could care less for the bare hard facts; they want the juice and the gossip. Are they to blame? Nope. We are the ones who demand it as we (as a society) are the ones that buy their magazines. We as a society forego the facts in a frenzy search for the dirt on who is supposedly sleeping with whom, who has allegedly done this and that. If this was not the case, this type of sensationalism couldn’t exist as it couldn’t be a commodity.

The only advice I can give is the advice that (from this point forward) I shall abide by; Demand a fact check before you agree to interview... Yup, you are right. Many journalists will simply say ‘nope’ and go elsewhere… There goes your 15 words of fame! Then again… there could go your 15 words of infamy.

“Take care and try to love one another” – Jerry Springer.
Well said Sam, as my dear old Gran used to say "Why spoil a good story with facts" and I think some journalists still live by that rule LOL.
Hi Geek

If the information is wrong, is it not possible to get them to print a correction with the RIGHT info in it:rolleyes:

They can do... but it usually isnt even worth the bother as it gets hidden away.
Speaking of newspaper articles. I got into soooooo much trouble at work a few months ago. Here's the story.

A few days after the watchdog programme was aired. We got a phonecall from a journalist from the Manchester Evening News asking if I would give an interview on the dangers of MMA and NSS. Naturally my Manager agreed and I gave the interview.

Everything went great, the journalist asked me a few questions, and I answered them, choosing my words very carefully. I made sure that I did my homework and knew exactly what I was taking about.

A week later the article was published and to my horror I was quoted as saying "Kelly also says that MMA causes miscarriges". I actually said that in extreme cases MMA has been reported to have caused Miscarriges.

She also quoted me as saying that EMA is odourless (totally untrue).

As you can imagine my area manager went ballistic. She had me strung up bless her. She thought we were gonna get sued for slander. I think she thought that MMA is actually sold on the open market as a nail product.

Luckily after a couple of weeks things settled down and we actually got a few new clients in the salon. That cheered my Manager up no end I can tell you.

Anyway the moral of my story is, never trust a journo thats after a headliner. I nearly lost my job and my good reputation because she couldn't be bothered to write the truth. :evil: :evil: :evil:
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