Microsoft PR Dossier Accidentally Sent to Reporter
In reporting a story on Microsoft's Channel 9 blogging initiative, Wired Contributing Editor Fred Vogelstein got an unexpected surprise in his inbox: the company's public relations firm's research on him.
The thirteen-page document shows the lengths to which Waggener Edstrom likely goes when dealing with the media to ensure Microsoft's public relations goals are met. Among the information included are tips on how to handle Vogelstein and transcripts of interviews and e-mails.
"It takes him a bit to get his point across so try to be patient," reads one comment. "We're pushing Fred to finish reporting and start writing," reads another. "Get a final gauge on where his head is at and reinforce one last time that we want to avoid any surprises with this story," commands one PR rep.
Vogelstein described the receipt of the file as "about as good as it gets" when it comes to journalistic windfalls. Before he had even written the story, he was able to gauge how Microsoft and Waggener Edstrom were attempting to have the writer convey their message.
However, even with the document in hand, Vogelstein had mixed feelings about it. "It also was strange to see just how many resources are aligned against me when I write a story about Microsoft," he wrote in a blog posting Tuesday.
About a dozen people in all were involved in the effort to spin the story, and Vogelstein said at least three times previous to him taking on the story Microsoft had sent people to the magazine to pitch the story.
Most peculiar about the entire incident was Waggner Edstrom's response, which came in the form of a blog post by the firm's president Frank Shaw.
Although he does not say it directly, Shaw indicates he was not happy with the way the story turned out. He also seems to take issue with Vogelstein's interviewing tactics.
"I have my POV of course, and those who live close enough to me to offer me a pint of beer might get it out of me," he wrote Tuesday. "But the story is out, like any piece of work there are things to agree with and not, and we'll leave it at that."
Microsoft has not directly commented on the incident. A PDF of the document is available here.