Thursday, March 29, 2007


This story has been wandering about the internet for the last couple of days. It is a case of someone at a PR firm hitting a "send" button too fast or carelessly and giving a reporter the entire background the agency has built up on that reporter. Aside from asking, "How could this happen?", one should ask how damaging the file was. Interestingly, it wasn't that harmful other than the fact that the reporter gleefully quoted the agency's assessments of him and others chimed in as well.

The reporter knew that the agency was tracking him. He expected that. What he didn't know was how closely the agency was tracking his development of a story. He felt used but on the other hand, he went ahead and wrote the story anyway because he felt it was newsworthy.

Take some time to read the report itself. It is professionally done and a credit to the agency. It's just that one doesn't publicize such things -- even accidentally.

Wow. This is textbook briefing. W.E. really did a great job of doing their homework, as you and the guys at Wired state.

Peripherally, I thought the additional post from Wired Editor in Chief Chris Anderson stating that Microsoft was a "big company trying to evolve a command-and-control messaging process" in direct contrast to its blogging community fostering a more public spirit of transparency, was a little off the mark. You have to do both, because you simply cannot leave the promotion of your corporate thesis up to chance. The public side of the blogging community creates the necessary public goodwill that draws attention away from the activity of generating the story...which requires, to paraphrase W.E's Frank Shaw, being "private, not secret".

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