Scene I: We call an editor with the intention of writing a complimentary feature on her company magazine. The story is nothing but praiseworthy; we’ve selected the publication because it truly stands out among the mediocre (at best) offerings of so many corporate communications departments.
Everything goes according to plan. We write the story, and it’s a freakin’ lovefest. You can’t buy this kind of publicity.
And then the phone rings. Sounding a bit sheepish, the editor tells us that our piece can’t go to print. Sure it can, we reply. It’s done. It fits. And our deadline looms.
You don’t understand, the editor says. My boss needs to see it, and then her boss, and there might even be another boss after that. It’s hard to tell. They’re kind of busy right now, but it shouldn’t take more than a couple of weeks. …
Great stuff, we say.
There’s just one problem, she says. You can’t use any of it.
It seems that her boss is concerned about liability issues. What if we use an anecdote about an employee and then something happens to that person? What happens if our competitors read the story and then go out and copy what we’re doing?