[Linux-aus] Sam did better with this one

Con Zymaris conz at cyber.com.au
Mon Jul 7 10:12:02 UTC 2003

On Mon, Jul 07, 2003 at 11:45:24AM +1000, Jeff Waugh wrote:
> <quote who="Con Zymaris">
> > And it's not as if Sam is anti-Linux or FOSS-community.
> You'd have to wonder, from some of the articles he's written. I'm not sure
> his approach is appropriately dispassionate (for an "editor" at a major,
> highly respected newspaper), or altogether professional. Many of his
> articles seem to have a conclusion before investigation. (I'm certainly not
> dispassionate in this criticism, because I have been squarely in his sights
> in the past. Still shocked and amazed.)

An issue in variability of quality per-piece perhaps. Dunno. 

I do know that if the wider collection of Australian journalists is taken
into consideration, Sam's consistently offering the FOSS viewpoint holders
a chance to speak their voice. 

That he seems to have whims and dislikes is not in debate however. C'est
la vie.

> > Perhaps this episode points to a problem with the rather disjointed
> > approach that the FOSS community in this country has to PR. I don't have a
> > solution, save to suggest that handling this aspect of press-relations is
> > generally what commercial firms do with aplomb. 
> Lots of projects have excellent press relations, and that's where the PR is
> important. The "FOSS community", outside understandable project boundaries,
> is a noisy mess, and that's fine. We're not one voice.


The issue I guess is that most IT journos will not seek out a response
from the LUGs, from the Zope, Perl and BSD and sundry other groups. It
would be good to offer a generic touchpoint for journos to come and get
quick repsonses to questions; responses that don't need to be debated
through a committee-review process, which takes too long. News is only
news for a very short period of time. Online news is more-so.

> A valuable PR skill is figuring out who you don't want to work with, and
> whether that choice will have a negative impact on your message. Personally,
> I would not take a story to Sam when I could take it to Nathan Cochrane, or
> another publication entirely (especially internationally op'ed pubs).

Sam takes care of Fairfax online's news services. Nathan's not going to
provide you with a platform there. There's no reason not to cultivate both
contacts, nor many more besides. Different news platforms reach different
constituencies. Reaching all of them with a consistent and sane message is
a big plus.

> However, there are a number of journalists who can be terribly childish if
> let loose with no information, so it is always good to feed them. Perhaps
> Sam is one of these, I don't know.
> But Sam's approach to journalism (and there's really no point giving him
> credit for being involved in the community) is not a failing of FOSS PR. :-)

Perhaps, but it's not going to help. It's better to polish strategies
which work within the context and foibles of the journos, rather than just
berate them.

Con Zymaris <conz at cyber.com.au> Level 4, 10 Queen St, Melbourne 03 9621 2377 
Cybersource: Unix/Linux, TCP/IP and Web App. Development  www.cyber.com.au

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