Knight Ridder VP Warns Reporters Have An Agenda

In a recent memo titled "Talking to the Press," Polk Laffoon, Knight Ridders's VP for corporate relations, laid out some media relations "rules of thumb" for the company's executives, publishers, and editors. In the memo, which was leaked to the Philadelphia Weekly, Laffoon writes: "Reporters who want to do take-outs on the company virtually always have an agenda. If the agenda isn't friendly (often the case), we muster whatever facts and figures we can to refute or blunt it. Although it would be rare that a reporter changes the agenda based on what we say, we can have an impact. Trish Callahan's June 18 front page article in the Wall Street Journal was nobody's idea of a helpful piece. But it was not nearly as strong as she would have liked, mostly because we threw so much contrary information at her." It's good to see such candor coming from national newspaper chain.