OLD Media Moves

The cat and mouse game between companies and biz reporters

January 16, 2009

Mary-Jo Foley, a tech reporter who writes a Microsoft blog for ZDNet, talks about how a tech reporter covers a company in light of the issues between Apple and the reporters who have been focused on the health of its CEO.

Foley writes, “I’ve gotten good access to some Microsoft teams and execs over the years. I’ve also had times and circumstances when I’ve been blocked and banned — either because of things I wrote and/or fears about what I might write. (For an example of the latter, I can point to my book Microsoft 2.0, for which I was granted no interviews by anyone at an executive level at Microsoft. Luckily, there are still some folks who work at Microsoft who believed that talking to someone who is making an honest effort to tell a story was worth risking the wrath of those wanting to cut off all information from the inside.)”

Later, she adds, “There are definitely Microsoft fanboys (and girls) who report and blog about the company. But reporters clapping at a Microsoft press conference? Maybe. Somewhere. But I hear/see a lot more jeers than cheers in the Microsoft press rooms and events where I’ve been present than I noticed the couple of times I’ve been at an Apple event….

“It is possible to hate the businesses/people/products that you cover. Some might claim that kind of attitude might mean you’re less at risk of being snowed. But hatred isn’t the equivalent of fair. I’ve tried to walk the line over the years of criticizing Microsoft when I felt it was engaging in behaviors that hurt customers and partners, but acknowledging when the company did the right thing — a behavior some readers never want to hear/read/believe in which Microsoft can engage.”

Read more here.

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