Thursday, May 26, 2005

New direction and misdirection at GIE Media

There's a lot of change at GIE Media, publisher of such B2B titles as "Golf Course News" and "Secure Destruction Business." Earlier this month, Chris Foster was named president and chief operating officer of the Cleveland-based publisher. Now comes word that Joe DiFranco has joined the company as Group Publisher, Manufacturing.
All this is good news. Foster worked at GIE previously and developed the company's Internet systems, where GIE is often well ahead of competitors. (For example, just yesterday I was talking about how few discussion boards there are at B2B publishers. But there is one at "Pest Control Technology" and a number of other GIE sites.) DiFranco is a 30-year veteran of our industry who most recently served as a vice president of Penton Media.
But I'm not using this post to praise GIE. I'm using this post to condemn it.
I don't know how many times I have to tell people in B2B that we are in the information and communications business.
That means we communicate information. We don't hide it.
Check out this annoying article about Foster that appeared on the "Lawn and Landscape" site. The writer, and I don't know if it's someone in public relations or in editorial, managed to tell us all about Foster without telling us what, if any, is Foster's relationship to company chairman and chief executive officer Richard Foster. The same piece also appears here and here.
Is it possible that the writer didn't think that was a question worth answering? Or did he or she think that no one would wonder if GIE is a family-run company?
And it's not as if this don't-tell-anyone-anything-of-interest style is a one-time problem.
Check out the article about DiFranco in PCT Online, which contains this cryptic line: "DiFranco brings with him the popular Today’s Medical Developments magazine as GIE Media expands its leading portfolio of B2B publications to include manufacturing publications."
Huh? Does that mean that GIE bought the magazine? Or did DiFranco buy it from Penton and then resell it? Is this a joint venture of some kind?
You can read the article all day and never find an answer.
How can anyone in our industry think this is acceptable?
Does anyone at GIE think that their readers don't notice these gaping holes in their stories? Do people at GIE think this helps their credibility as journalists and publishers? Doesn't anyone at GIE realize that their readers aren't idiots and they are insulted by such foolishness?
And lastly, is this sort of half-assed reporting the norm at GIE?

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