Steven Pearlstein, a columnist at the Washington Post, examines the increasingly regularity of companies declining to comment to business journalists.
Pearlstein writes, “With the help of Post researcher Magda Jean-Louis, I did an unscientific search of the Times Business section for the past six months looking for instances of companies that declined to comment or were rude enough to never respond to a reporter’s questions. The list includes LVMH, First Data, Career Education, Theranos, Dodge & Cox, Qualcomm, Universal, Warner Bros. and Fox, Tiger Brands, Tesla, Google, Twitter, Toyota, Exxon Mobil and Lyft.
“Not every company has reduced media relations to a grudging game of defense. Some industries, such as banking, aerospace and hospitality, are better than others, with tech being the worst, hands down. A number of communications professionals I contacted expressed surprise and dismay when told of my own experiences and those of my colleagues and assured me that they were not reflective of industry best practices.
“’This is not what we stand for as a profession,’ said Roger Bolton, a veteran of IBM and Aetna who now heads the Arthur W. Page Society, the leading organization for corporate communications professionals. ‘Media relations is a critical core responsibility, and companies should seek to build trusting relationships with the media.’
“In fact, said Aedhmar Hynes, who leads the global PR firm Text 100 and is chairman of the Page Society’s board, in the age of social media and fake news, the journalism produced at ‘legitimate news outlets is more important to us than ever because these are trusted, independent sources of information.'”
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