Thursday, August 14, 2008

How to make friends

The title of this post is sarcastic.

Recently I've been researching an article on a particular trend in the travel industry. I contacted a body which describes itself as a global association for that niche, and asked what dealings they've had with Taiwan-based companies and organizations.

The answer I got was "none." When I emailed back to confirm some facts about the association, and to ask the person who'd answered my question for her surname, so I could quote her, I got this message:


Mr. Steven Crook,

You may NOT use [name deleted by Steven Crook]'s quote in the email below. She is NOT the official spokesperson for the [organization]. In addition, the quote you are suggesting below is incorrect on multiple fronts.

As such, we have forwarded your email below and all correspondence to our legal department.

If you wish to obtain an official quote from the [organization], you MUST go through our Public Relations Office by submitting your credentials to us and identify what your role is at Taiwan's Government Information Office including bio, full contact information and full disclosure regarding your background. You must also provide full disclosure regarding your report/project.
Public Relations Dept.

A demand for 'full disclosure' from someone who doesn't provide his or her own name. An implicit threat of legal action. An insistence that one goes through the correct channels. This organization - I'm assuming - exists to promote part of the travel industry, yet they're behaving like they've got something to hide.

AUGUST 18 UPDATE: The organization's president has since been in touch, and has answered my questions quickly and graciously. He's obviously far more media-savvy than his 'PR' department.

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