Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Smith Sale Stuff

Looks like the local play on the sale of Smiths Aerospace to GE was prompt and pretty comprehensive. The companies national Web site had a release posted promptly yesterday.

The Smiths corporate site has a link to the Grand Rapids location, but that turns out to be mostly a profile with some contact info. Not any locally focused announcements about the local impact of the sale. However, the corporate site offers good info, with a bullet list of impact statements that should reduce uncertainty. And GR-based PR official Jennifer Villarreal had a presence in local media--either directly or indirectly--immediately yesterday.

The sale and its impact were stories on radio, TV and print. The Press may have wanted more lead time for a Monday story, evident in the fact that they only ran a brief. But, the media doesn't give a rip about our competitive interests, so why should we give in to theirs? It's a big story, and the Press' competitive edge is depth and analysis. So they should have a business section lead or longer story today to follow up and flesh out details about the impact of the sale.

Incidentally, national publications like the Wall Street Journal and TIME Magazine both described format and print/online changes recently that reveal a trend towards more "forward looking" news and analysis. Since print can't compete with other media on immediacy, they are trying to offer more depth, analysis, and forecasting to help readers make "sense" of the world. In some ways this makes good, um, sense. On the other hand, I worry that this trend will further remove print journalism from objective reporting to a market-driven approach to news as "product.'

In any event, the larger issue for us right here in River City will be to see if local media like the Press adopt this analysis//forecasting model of news as well. To borrow from broadcasting, stay tuned!

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