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Manage the Media: Don't Let the Media Manage You (Memo to the CEO) Hardcover – March 4, 2008

4.5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

William J. Holstein is an award-winning editor, author and journalist on subjects affecting chief executive officers and boards of directors. He is a columnist for The New York Times business section and has spent 30 years specializing in global business issues. Previously, he was Editor-in-Chief of Directorship magazine and Editor in Chief of Chief Executive magazine. He has been Editor at Large for Business 2.0, Senior Writer for U.S. News & World Report, and Correspondent and Editor for United Press International. He has written freelance articles for a wide variety of publications including Fortune and Politique Internationale.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 103 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press (March 4, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1422121488
  • ISBN-13: 978-1422121481
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 4.5 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,539,792 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Robert Morris HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 17, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This is one of the titles in the "Memo to the CEO" series published by Harvard Business Press, each less than 200 pages in length and superbly produced. In fact, none is a "memo" or written solely for a CEO. In this volume, William Holstein provides sound advice to decision-makers in any organization that receives media attention, especially in response to a crisis of some kind. Much of his advice will also guide and inform initiatives to attract their favorable attention. He is certainly a well-qualified business journalist, have been involved in covering major US companies for more than 20 years as a senior writer at U.S. News & World Report, then as an editor-at-large at Business 2.0. He has also written business articles for The New York Times, Fortune, and Barron's. "In recent years, I have specialized in covering CEOs and their boards as editor-in-chief of Chief Executive and Directorship magazines." It should also be noted that, over the years, he has interviewed countless CEOs and thus had the opportunity to measure the extent to which each understands (a) the fundamentals of an effective media relations program and (b) the perils and possible (probable?) consequences of not having such a program in place.

Readers will appreciate the fact that Holstein cites real-world examples throughout his lively narrative to illustrate his key points. For example, in the first chapter he explains how Home Depot's PR strategy ("or the absence of one") created so many problems for its then CEO, Robert Nardelli. He also cites a situation in which Wal-Mart "found itself in an almost purely defensive posture similar to that of the Nixon White House" because it allowed its opponents to decide the terms of engagement, in this instance an agenda of social issues, and put Wal-Mart on the defensive.
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Format: Hardcover
Award-winning, veteran journalist William J. Holstein has written a little gem of a book filled with wise advice for CEOs about how to manage today's media. Manage the Media is one of Harvard Business Press's new "Memo to the CEO" series. It's a quick read and to the point which should be perfect for time-starved executives. I highly recommend it for CEOs, board members, members of senior management and anyone interested in media coverage of organizations.

In Manage the Media, Holstein clearly educates the reader about the threats and opportunites related to today's media environment. He illustrates them with compelling examples. (If you thought you knew the whole story of Bob Nardelli's downfall at Home Depot, just wait until you read what was really going on behind the scenes.) Thanks to the internet, search engines and social media, with a couple mouse clicks anyone can assess the reputation of most organizations. This presents a risk to every organization. According to Holstein, wise organizations anticipate media risk, and plan and implement organizational structures and processes to monitor and respond to threats as they arise.

The best organizations will go even further. They proactively take their stories to the media and systematically develop relationships with media representatives who cover their organizations. By doing so, these media savvy organizations build a rapport with the media. The goodwill they accumulate over time represents value to the organization because it makes it easier to get their point of view represented in future media coverage of events that are important to the organization's interests. I know this is true from personal experience. When I was Chief Marketing Officer of Charles Schwab's U.S.
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Format: Hardcover
This new series from HBR looks at issues from the 30,000 foot perspective. A few of the ideas: have the internal communication employees report directly to the ceo, it is that important; do not hire former journalists because you think they can schmooze over problems---they can't, a story is going to be a story; understand that there is now an alternate "media" made up of non journalists---bloggers, interest groups, etc. His advice: engage them if you can, fight them if you must. A nice, short read.
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Format: Hardcover
CEOs and boards of directors generally place little value on communication experience or strategy, but they ignore public relations (PR) at their peril. William J. Holstein cites examples of how corporate leaders' poor communication skills caused media debacles. He succinctly introduces CEOs to communication basics. He emphasizes taking the offensive, framing your message and using the new media. He discusses how to avoid, or learn from bad publicity, whether deserved or undeserved (a distinction he underplays), and explains how good PR can deter negative attention. Holstein seems to suggest that firms should change their PR strategies to earn warmer public attention, and pays less attention to whether they should also change their actions, even though policies that betray the public interest consistently provoke negative press. He offers tactics to strengthen corporations' outreach to shape the media's message. getAbstract recommends this short essay to executives who need to build their PR skills and who need to know that nothing draws positive attention like having good practices to promote.
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