Why people get mad at the media, part 4, will guerrilla email help?


It looks to me as if there isn’t anybody from Business Week /McGraw Hill that will be graduating from the Rock Rapids College of Community Journalism (see my first blog about journalistic principles as practiced at the Lyon County Reporter in Rock Rapids, Iowa.) The Business Week folks really don’t want to deal with readers who have legitimate complaints.

As you will remember from my last post, the stonewall continues. The Business Week author Jessi Hempel refused to correct the erroneous statement about the “grungy SF Bay Guardian offices,” and sent me merrily along to her editor in New York, Elizabeth Weiner. I called Weiner twice, on two successive days, and left messages on her answering machine asking for a full correction on the Business Week errors. No reply.

So I finally figured out her email address and sent her an email. I got an automated email response that said she is “on vacation and will return on Aug. 28th.” Great. That will be well after the next issue is out, the issue that ought to have contained a full correction. It would have been nice if I had been told that she was on vacation and it would have been even nicer if I had been given another real live editor for me to talk to. Are all the editors in hiding at Business Week/McGraw Hill?

So, since I was still getting stonewalled after almost a week of trying to get a full correction and explanation of the errors, I figured out the email address formula of Business Week staffers and sent off guerrilla emails to them with my request for a full correction to everyone from the editor in chief Stephen J. Adler to President William P. Kupper Jr to President of Information and Media for McGraw Hill Glenn S. Goldberg, to others listed on the masthead of Business Week. I suggested that they go to my blogs for background on the issue. Most important: I asked for a copy of the Business Week/McGraw Hill policy on corrections and retractions and dealing with reader complaints. No reply as yet, but I will keep you posted.

The operating principle seems to be: set up a track field of hurdles and make it as difficult as possible for a reader (particularly a reader with a legitimate complaint) to talk to a real editor, to get a full correction, to get some satisfaction for a grievance. The point: It doesn’t have to be this way, as you will soon see. Stay tuned. B3, still grunging away down here in my office at the bottom of Potrero Hill