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Wednesday, August 01, 2007

The journalistic challenge

We're preparing to publish a significant story about the problems of extended warranties/holdbacks in our Ontario publications. Even before the story has been published, I know it has received attention at the highest levels -- somehow a working draft found its way into the office of the Ontario Minister of Public Infrastructure Renewal. I didn't send it there.

Good journalism can correlate with good business, but of course it is a challenge to combine the two and maintain integrity. One traditional rule of the game is that journalists are never to show their 'work in progress' to story subjects -- the reason, advance information can result in meddling and bias.

But I own the publication, so get to play by my own rules. And when I have a story that is touchy, I send working drafts to everyone affected by it -- eliciting responses, corrections, and insights. The final product is a highly readable, totally accurate, and absolutely libel-proof story -- even though it is often also controversial and sensitive in nature.

Tonight, as we are preparing the final page layouts, I received a request to change the story. I declined (but offered the proponent the opportunity to issue a statement or clarification post-publication).

So what does this have to do with construction marketing. Well, let me put it this way -- my passion for good journalism is expressed in the product; and as it develops, our publications are read with intense interest by the senior construction industry decision-makers. So advertisements in our publications are effective for marketers wishing to reach the industry.

If you are an exceptionally talented architect, engineer, mechanical contractor, GC, or roofer -- or whatever trade or profession you practice, and you truly care about your work, and do it well, you'll do a whole lot of really good business. Hire someone with a genuine passion for sales and marketing, and promote your business in appropriate media, and you'll do even better for yourself.

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