Charlo Greene presenting a report on cannabis before quitting her job on live TV
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Alaska reporter Charlo Greene swears then quits on live TV

Old and new media came to a head in Alaska this week: a local news reporter presented an edited package on the evening news about the campaign to legalise marijuana, then revealed her identity as the owner of a medical marijuana business.

Then, with the cameras rolling, she quit her job, uttered a profanity, and walked off the set, leaving the anchor stunned and fumbling before a commercial break.

Ethical issues aside, Greene's sign off is having a bigger impact on social media than any local news spot could. More than 2 million people have seen the video on YouTube. Twenty thousand people have tweeted about it, and it's made headlines across the globe.

But one business consultant wonders if it will have lasting impact.

"Just because something is viral doesn't mean it's paying the bills, and that's a really important point," says Peter Shankman, author of Can We Do That?! Outrageous PR Stunts That Work.

"She might have 7 million Facebook views tomorrow, but guess what? No one's buying her stuff, because they're all outside of Alaska," he says.

While Greene's stunt was being discussed on CNN, her Indiegogo fund to raise $5,000 to campaign for Alaska's marijuana legalisation act had barely made it past the halfway mark. She had yet to raise the full amount by the end of the business day on the East Coast.

While the stunt will be the first thing that pops up when someone searches for her online, the Twitter feed for her business, Alaska Cannabis Club, has fewer than 700 followers and its Facebook page has less than 6,000 - that's more than two-thirds fewer than the Facebook page of KTVA, the news station she quit in spectacular fashion.

Image copyright Twitter
Image caption Despite a day of publicity Greene's Twitter feed stayed below 1000 followers

In the meantime, her immediate community - and her client base - may have questions about credibility.

"I don't think she was thinking long term," Shankman says. "This was a very short term play."

Comments online indicate that the renegade spirit she showed in quitting is appreciated by fans of marijuana culture. Whether that translates to more customers or more votes for pro-pot legislation is yet to be seen.

Reported by Kate Dailey

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