GWU Issues Management

A blog established for the George Washington University School of Political Management's Issues Management course.

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Location: Washington, D.C., United States

A middle aged white guy, who likes to think, talk and, too infrequently, write about politics, religion and gadgets.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Microsoft's Steve Ballmer

The New York Times ran an extensive story on Microsoft, focusing on its CEO, Steve Ballmer. I expect that a lot of people involved in "issues management" at the company spent a lot of time working on this piece. Ballmer was probably media trained to within an inch of his life. They likely had a few key messages that he had to drive home either directly or implicitly through his behavior. It is also clear that they gave the reporter pretty open access, not only to Ballmer, but also to some internal documents. There had to have been a strategy behind this piece.

It is a fairly long piece, but worth reading all the way through. It gives a pretty comprehensive view of where the company has been, where it is and where it hopes to go. There's not a whole lot about public policy, which is, in itself, telling. What does that tell you?

It is always a gamble to give a reporter this much access. So, why did they do it? What were they trying to achieve? What issues were they addressing? What were the key messages? How did Ballmer do as a company spokesperson? Did the bet pay off?

I don't want extended analyses. Just give me your reaction to the piece. Choose whichever question you'd like to answer or comments on something else that may interest you.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Welcome to the Spring 2007 Issues Management Course

I was pleased to meet you all last week and look forward to spending my Thursday evenings with you for the next few months. As noted in the syllabus, this blog is one of the graded elements in the course. But I truly want it to be an enjoyable exchange of views, not a heavy lift. Thus, the grade will reflect participation only, not the style or content of the comments offered. And, in the spirit of the blogosphere, I welcome provocative and flamboyant opinions. If you have strong feelings about a topic, let it rip.

Continuing our discussion from last Thursday, I thought we'd start with an exchange on the issue of global warming between the Union of Concerned Scientists and Exxon Mobil from last week. Click on their names to read the dueling press releases.

Or click below:

UCS Press Release
Exxon Mobil Press Release

I would like you comment in any way that moves you on the debate as conducted by these two organizations. You can offer your opinion as to which one did the better job of advancing their position. Or can just identify some of the techniques used that are either clever or demagogic or boneheaded. Or you can note the messages used, their persuasiveness, their validity, whatever. Or you can just rip one or the other organization.

Your post can be as long or as short as you want. Just let me hear from you.