In an attempt to win friends and influence the influencers, GM “prohibited reporters from e-mailing from within its shareholder meeting,” an obviously miffed Bloomberg reporter Tim Higgins wrote. Reporters had a choice of watching the proceedings in situ, but with a smartphone off. Or they could go to a separate room, where they were served coffee, bagels, and the meeting on monitors. They were not allowed to photograph or videotape the monitors.
The interesting part: There are people who think keeping reporters from doing their job is the right thing to do.
“So they don’t want journalists live-tweeting their presentation? Big fucking deal,” commented Heeltoehero on Jalopnik. Reader Maxzillian concurred: “Media is forced to pay attention and not fart around on their phone.” Over at Thetruthaboutcars, frequent commenter Sunridge place found stronger words: “One whiny Bloomberg prick bitched.” TTAC commenter brn advised GM’s PR dept to “enforce it by not allowing a particular media outlet back to the next meeting if they break the rules.” Rules that must have been made in China. Everywhere in the word, people take to the streets demanding more freedom. In America, they take to the blogs demanding less.
Apparently, GM knows blog commenters on their sides when it comes to alienate the media. And what the heck, if the claque is not vociferous on its own, masses of blog comments can always be produced in-house.
Both GM and the commentariat show utter disregard for how things work in real life. Real-time reporting is essential in this connected age. Go to any press conference at major automakers, and you see reporters punching devices that are networked into the edit desks back at the office. Soundbites turn into instant headlines, stories appear before the press conference is over. Everywhere, except at the New GM.
Just as a for instance, at Nissan’s annual shareholders meeting, next Wednesday in allegedly secretive Japan, reporters will witness the proceedings live from a balcony at the Yokohama Convention Center, and nobody will ask them to refrain from typing or tweeting as it happens. While “audio recording, photography, and video filming” during the meeting are not allowed, reporters can join a shareholder’s reception after the meeting (supposedly for something better than coffee and bagels) where “photography and video filming are allowed in designated spots.”