USA Today Ombudsman To ...


usa todayUSA Today published a story on corporate blogging last week.

The journalist asked us for input.

One of our comments made the actual article.

So far, so good. It’s not every day a communications consultancy makes the USA Today Money section (albeit below the fold).

We’re doing more work in the area of corporate blogging – audits, workshops, writing, consulting – so this type of visibility is valuable.

Yet, the plot took a twist after the story appeared.

Five people were quoted in the story:

  • Nora Ganim Barnes, a professor at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth
  • T.J. Crawford, a Bank of America spokesperson
  • Pete Steege, director of marketing communications and web strategy for Rimage
  • Milton Gray Draper, director of IR at Core-Mark Holding
  • Lou Hoffman, a communications consultant

I couldn’t help but notice I was the only one not identified by organization.

It’s not a horrific miss in accuracy. Still, I’d like the company to come along for the ride, which prompted this letter:

Dear USA Today,

I’m writing you in regards to today’s story “More companies quit blogging, go with Facebook instead.”

Every person quoted in the story is identified by his or her company/organization except me.

I appreciate nothing can be done with the hard copy, but could the online version of the article be tweaked so I have company attribution as well?

I enjoyed interacting with the journalist on this story.

I’m also appreciative to simply be included in the story.

If USA Today has a policy or philosophy that prevents this change, no problem.

I appreciate the consideration.



Mission accomplished.

The story now carries the following identifier:

Lou Hoffman, CEO of The Hoffman Agency, a public relations firm

It serves as another proof point that it never hurts to ask (nicely).


  • Jen

    Great approach, great outcome. I love reading when fellow pr professionals approach the job with humility, tact, and just plain niceness. Thanks for sharing this.

  • Lou Hoffman

    I appeciate the kind words.

    Someone asked me what I would have done if USA Today turned down my request.

    I don’t think I would have pursued it further.

    But it would have been good fodder for a follow-up post.


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