Sparky asks: What does GCI gain in talking to me?

In another life, Sparky was a manager at a big corporation, and that experience shaped his somewhat conservative views on labor-management relations. Whenever I suggest it’s in Corporate’s interests to answer my questions, Sparky’s common-sense reply is the same: “What’s in it for Tara Connell?”

Indeed, how would cooperating with me help Connell do her job as chief company spokeswoman and nominal head of employee communications — given this site’s often-confrontational tone?

Nearly three months after I extended an olive branch to Corporate, here’s how I respond: More employees read this blog more often than any other Gannett communication vehicle, based on research I’ve done. My more than 10,000 monthly readers include well over 6,000 of GCI’s 46,000 employees, according to Google Analytics; an ongoing “Where do you work?” survey (blue sidebar, right), and other data.

Corporate wants to stay in touch with its employees. It doesn’t publish a company blog of its own, as The New York Times reported yesterday, in a damning story about the price Gannett paid for ignoring the blogosphere. How about feeding me the occasional memo about an upcoming workforce reduction? I’m going to get ’em anyway, so why not try currying a little favor? That’s plain old press relations.

Plus, trying to keep a lid on stuff like that only breeds distrust among employees — particularly at a company whose raison d’être is the First Amendment. Besides, Connell is a former USA Today managing editor; surely, she remembers the push-pull nature of relations between companies and journalists?

OK, what’s in it for Hopkins?
To be honest, I’m not sure there is any advantage for me — given the fact so many employees have learned to hit the forward button the moment a company memo arrives in their in-box. Still, I’ve always thought journalists and the subjects of their stories gain more when communication channels are wide open. Maybe that’s true for Gannett, and Gannett Blog.

Please post your replies in the comments section, below. To e-mail confidentially, write gannettblog[at]gmail[dot-com]; see Tipsters Anonymous Policy in the green sidebar, upper right.

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