From the Editor Thwarting 'The Press'
Sometimes, when I'm sitting back, feeling satisfied that my work at IPG is truly benefiting the in-plant managers of the world, it's jarring to have my face slapped by reality.
One day not long ago I heard that President Bush was planning to sign a bill at a Midwest manufacturing firm. Ever on the lookout for interesting story angles, I called the firm's in-plant manager, only to discover a new man had taken his place.
It was clear from the man's cautious tone that he had not heard of IPG, his predecessor's subscription having apparently retired with him. When I asked him if his in-plant had played a role in printing signs or announcements for the historic visit, he said no, dashing my hopes. But then, to put me in my place as a lowly journalist, he felt he had to toss in the warning that he wouldn't have "allowed" me to do a story anyway because his communications department controlled all information.
Take that, paperboy!
This isn't the first time I have encountered such resistance. I realize that some of you have been given strict orders from your communications departments not to talk to "the press" without their O.K (they have to do something for their paychecks, I suppose). But you should also realize that an article about your shop will not only let your fellow managers benefit from your ideas, it will help you promote your in-plant to your own customers—not to mention your boss—by showing them the article.
This alone should make you want to help the story-writing process by offering to coordinate the whole deal with your internal communications people, rather than using their directive as a threat to a well-meaning editor. The fact is, I have hundreds of other in-plant managers I could call, so if I sense someone would rather scare me off by quoting company policy, I'd be just as happy to move on. There are plenty of willing managers out there, eager to see their in-plants get good PR.