The death of business reporting may be exaggerated

Tomorrow's Business

First, apologies for our absence. Briefly: a foolish cricket match led to an unfortunate tumble, which saw the top of my leg go one way, the knee cap go the other, and the foot in a third direction all of its own.

I could have seen this as a metaphor for the twisted relations between hacks, flaks and the corporate world we inhabit, if I hadn’t been shouting so much.

While I was off, I see the Washington Post declared “The death of business reporting.

Jeez, I only hurt my leg.

The Post’s piece is good and rightly flags a worrying trend; the feeling among companies that they don’t need to talk to the press.

But I think it mostly remains an American issue. While reporting from the US for The Daily Telegraph, getting fobbed off was usual, partly because many of the American flaks thought the Telegraph was a phone company.

Here, big US companies remain off-hand with the press, but it doesn’t do them any favours.

The obvious reason why not engaging with the press hurts you in the end is a human one. It is much harder for reporters to be mean about CEOs who engage, who return calls, who admit to failings, who don’t take offence at every last perceived slight.

In the long run, it’s not a coincidence that the best companies have the most open press policy. Those that act like they have things to hide….usually do.

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