Corporations and the reporters who cowl them routinely discover themselves at odds, notably when the tales being chased are unflattering or carry undesirable consideration to a enterprise’s dealings, or, within the firm’s estimation, merely inaccurate.
Many corporations struggle again, which is why disaster communications is a really huge and profitable enterprise. Nonetheless, how an organization fights again issues. And in line with disaster communications execs who TechCrunch spoke with this afternoon, a new post on Oracle’s company weblog misses the mark, as did the corporate’s associated follow-up on social media.
In reality, the creator of the submit, an Oracle government named Ken Glueck, a 25-year-long veteran of the corporate, has been temporarily suspended by Twitter, the corporate advised Gizmodo this afternoon, after encouraging his followers to harass a feminine reporter.
The difficulty ties to a series of pieces by the information web site The Intercept about how a “community of native resellers helps funnel Oracle know-how to the police and army in China,” and Oracle’s response to the items.
Whereas it isn’t unusual for corporations to submit responses to media tales on their very own platforms (in addition to to take out ads in mainstream media shops), the disaster execs with whom we spoke — they requested to not be named as they work with corporations like Oracle — had some observations that is perhaps useful to Oracle sooner or later.
Rule primary: don’t draw consideration unnecessarily to work that you just may want didn’t exist. Oracle’s latest submit doesn’t hyperlink again to the brand new Intercept story that Glueck works to dismantle, however in an earlier post concerning the first Intercept story that ran in February, Glueck hyperlinks to the story on Oracle’s weblog within the very first sentence of his response, even sharing its title: “How Oracle Sells Repression in China.”
“What number of of Oracle’s clients or staff noticed [The Intercept piece] and didn’t give a rattling and now he’s drawing consideration to it?” famous one exec we’d interviewed in the present day.
Rule quantity two: Don’t assault reporters; assault (for those who should) the outlet. In Glueck’s first diatribe towards The Intercept over its February piece, he mentions the outlet 26 times and the creator of the piece as soon as. In Glueck’s latest salvo towards The Intercept, he refers to its creator, reporter Mara Hvistendahl, 22 times — largely by her first title — and even invitations readers of Oracle’s weblog to succeed in out to him, writing in boldface: “If in case you have any details about Mara or her reporting, write me securely at kglueck AT protonmail.com.”
Although Glueck has since mentioned the call-out was a tongue-in-cheek gesture, it was subsequently faraway from the submit, presumably owing to its “sinister tone” as noticed by considered one of our specialists. “Nobody likes a bully,” mentioned this comms professional, including that “bullying conveys weak point.”
Rule quantity three: Know your objective. By lashing out in what’s a plainly derisive tone to The Intercept’s piece, in addition to persevering with to doubling down on its assault towards Hvistendahl on social media afterward, Glueck’s technique turned much less and fewer clear, in line with one of many disaster specialists we spoke with.
“You are able to do what Ken did and mock” the reporter, mentioned this particular person, “however is that going to cease The Intercept from persevering with to do tales about Oracle? And what’s the response of different media? Are they scared off by [what happened today] or are they going to circle the wagons?” (Under: a be aware from an L.A. Occasions reporter to Glueck in the present day in response to his name for details about Hvistendahl.)
Rule 4: Hold it brief. Two of the professionals we spoke with in the present day recommended Glueck’s writing fashion, calling it each fluid and humorous. Each additionally noticed that his response was far too lengthy. “I simply couldn’t get by it,” mentioned one.
Final rule: Discover one other means if doable. The disaster specialists we spoke with mentioned it’s very best to first work with a reporter, then the reporter’s editor if vital, and if it involves it, contain attorneys, of which Oracle certainly has loads. “That’s the chain of enchantment if a reporter has gotten a narrative blatantly flawed,” mentioned one supply.
Very presumably, Glueck determined to throw out this rulebook by design. Oracle tends to do things its own way, and Glueck may be very a lot a product of that tradition. Certainly, the WSJ wrote a 1,300-word profile about Glueck final 12 months, calling him a “potent weapon” for Oracle.
As for Hvistendahl, she suggests there may be another excuse Oracle took the route that it did.
In an announcement despatched to us earlier, she writes that “Ken Glueck has revealed two prolonged weblog posts attacking me and my editor, Ryan Tate. However Oracle has not refuted my central discovering, which is that the corporate marketed its analytics software program to be used by police in China. Oracle additionally hasn’t refuted our reporting on Oracle’s sale and advertising of its analytics software program to police elsewhere on this planet. We discovered proof of Oracle promoting or advertising analytics software program to police in Mexico, Pakistan, Turkey, and the UAE. In Brazil, my colleague Tatiana Dias uncovered police contracts between Oracle and Rio de Janeiro’s notoriously corrupt Civil Police.”