Friday, August 8, 2008

Live from Denver: Are you kidding me?

Finally, we sat in on this afternoon's panel of industry magazine editors. The panel, which consisted of Building Design and Construction's Rob Cassidy, Architectural Record's Jane Kolleeny, Architecture magazine's Ned Cramer, and Engineering News-Record's Jan Tuchman, talked about what they looked for in deciding what to publish. For the most part, everything was fine, but there were a few things that stood out.

* Cassidy took a shot at both AIA and the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) in talking about the rise of sustainable design. "It's pretty remarkable that we had to have a group of largely environmentalists push the movement along," said Cassidy, who described it as "appalling. This should have happened from the industry itself, not an outside force pushing it. Really, a lot more responsibility needs to be taken by this industry to deal with these issues."

Cassidy is right, but it's surprising to hear him be so aggressive toward two of the largest trade associations in the AEC industry.

* Later on, I found it somewhere between fascinating and appalling myself when Cassidy told attendees not to call him with potential story ideas. Not to be outdone, Tuchman told everyone not to send her an e-mail with the subject line of "press release" or to send her any attachments to e-mails. "I'm not going to open it on my handheld and if I save it, I won't remember to look at it when I get back to the office." Tuchman went on to say that she doesn't want to get phone calls from people asking if she received their press release. Kolleeny said that if she receives e-mails with project photos attached, McGraw-Hill's limited server space forces her to delete the e-mails immediately without opening them.

Are you kidding me? McGraw-Hill is a giant company. They really can't find the storage capacity to receive e-mails. And she really can't download the photos and delete them?

But, wait, it gets better. Kolleeny advised attendees to educate themselves before sending something to a magazine or calling them seeking placement. This is good advice, but she wouldn't leave it alone. "We have really good PR people who call us and say, 'We'll be on our way.' I love that. I know it will be something we want."

Sounds to me like she's advocating that AEC industry marketers shouldn't bother becoming PR savvy. Instead, they should just hire a PR firm to do it for them. When it's necessary to do so, I would agree, but there are plenty of talented marketers who know how to run the firm's PR efforts. Well, from the sound of it, she doesn't want to hear from you.

What message does that send to an audience of marketing professionals whose lifeblood depends on the visibility that these magazines can offer them? Don't bother us. We're too busy to open your e-mails, take your phone calls, or read what you send us.

Don't believe me? Check this out. "Send me an e-mail letting me know you are sending me something in print. I will put it in my calendar to look for a package tomorrow," Cassidy said.

Are these people really this lazy?


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