‘No Comment’: The Death of Business Reporting
Even the prospect of a positive story can’t crack open the executive suite's door
Recently, I went looking for a well-run company to write about — the sort of corporate profile that used to be the bread and butter of business reporting. I quickly hit upon Clorox, which regularly shows up on the list of best companies to work for and recently walked away with an unusual number of awards for its marketing campaigns. I was also intrigued by the challenge of writing about a company in a “boring” industry like consumer packaged goods (Clorox bleach, S.O.S. scrub pads, Burt’s Bees lip balm, Brita water filters, Kingsford charcoal) rather than tech or finance.
Responding to an email, the associate director of corporate communications called back to get a better idea of what I had in mind. I offered to come out to Oakland, Calif., and spend time talking to some of the top executives and a couple of brand managers, and perhaps visit a manufacturing plant closer to home in Maryland. I explained I didn’t know enough yet to have an “angle” for the story other than trying to understand why the company was so admired. She seemed interested and offered to mail me some material to get started.
A few days later, I got a short email back saying that “we’re going to have to decline to participate” because Clorox’s executives were too busy.
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