Microsoft PR programme revealed

Wired reporter Fred Vogelstein has an amusing story about how Microsoft’s US PR agency Waggener Edstrom sent its pre-interview briefing document (PDF) – to Fred instead of the Microsoft exec who was going to be interviewed. It’s standard practice to prepare this type of briefing for clients, we do it all the time, but not usually to send to the journalist.

Wired’s Chris Anderson thinks he’s been manipulated and Waggener Edstrom president Frank Shaw has a good explanation. And as a bonus Frank links to an older post on radical translucency.

Frank’s right a degree of transparency is a good thing, too much transparency can hide more than it reveals. Just imagine if a company board meeting or government cabinet meeting was transparent and public. Do you really think that would facilitate frank and open discussion that would be properly documented? Of course not, people would have secret pre-meetings where nothing was put on the record. Does that improve transparency? I think not.

Just remembered that if I want to build my US audience for this blog I should have said Microsoft PR program, because American’s can’t spell smile_wink

Duck and run, sorry guys.


About Stuart Bruce

International communications consultant and PR trainer specialising in online public affairs, digital corporate communications, online PR and social media; frequent national media commentator and conference speaker.
  • http://www.greenbanana.wordpress.com Heather Yaxley

    Interesting – it is surprising when supposedly intelligent people are "shocked" to see there is a process behind PR activities – which they assume is manipulative, but is just good business practice. Don't they prepare for any meetings, don't they keep records on their key contacts, don't they review previous stories?

    Also, I wonder whether any reports kept on journalists such as this are subject in UK to the data protection act and should be made available to the subjects on request.