Nortel's PR blogger weighs in on negative financial coverage

TORONTO: It's not often that a company publicly analyzes its own media coverage, particularly when the news is bad. But that's exactly what Nortel did, a day after it announced a big quarter loss and job cuts totalling 1,300 staff.

TORONTO: It's not often that a company publicly analyzes its own media coverage, particularly when the news is bad. But that's exactly what Nortel did, a day after it announced a big quarter loss and job cuts totalling 1,300 staff.
   
In a blog posting on November 11, new media manager Bo Gowan directed readers to links of news articles that, in his opinion, offered “a little more in-depth analysis and commentary that provided some differentiation [from] the typical straight coverage” regarding Nortel's third quarter financials.

The Nortel Buzzword blog launched earlier this year, and Gowan told PRWeek that Nortel's corporate communications team made a conscious decision back then to cover financials, despite extra concerns of disclosure.

He said 90% of the media coverage about Nortel's third quarter focused on the numbers, and, with his recent post, said the telecommunications company is providing a service to analysts and other interested parties who are looking for different viewpoints. Traffic to Nortel Buzzword backs up his point, as the number of visits to the blog spiked towards record highs last week.

“If we are going to have an effective blog and have a conversation with people, you have to have that conversation in good times and bad. It is very similar to traditional PR: If you talk in the good times, but say no to interviews in the bad times, you lose a little credibility. And that is much more pronounced with blogs, because it is such a conscious stream of information,” said Gowan. “It just doesn't make sense to retrench.”

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