Bad news seems to be good for U.S. opinion leading media that are intent on using corporate malfeasance or a change in corporate leadership as the main factor in their news-selection process. This was apparent in the first half of 2004 as well as 2005. .
Prime examples of this in 2005 were AIG, which, under its former CEO, Maurice Greenberg, was found to have overstated profits, the continuing fallout from irregularities in Citigroup?s Japanese private banking unit and the downgrade of GM?s bonds to junk status. In the first half of 2004, the resignation of Michael Eisner, whose position will be filled by Robert Iger, drew a lot of negative press for Disney. In 2005, HP?s CEO, Carly Fiorina, was ousted and replaced by Mark Hurd and at JP Morgan, veteran banker John Mack replaced Phillip Purcell as CEO..
Media Tenor Research Institute compared the media presence and ratings of the Dow Jones companies in the evening news of ABC, NBC and CBS and in Time, Newsweek and the Wall Street Journal in the first six months of 2004 and 2005..
Boeing moved up one spot in 2005, mainly because it is catching up to Airbus in sales. SBC, which was more visible in the news in 2004, received less coverage this year. Merck received much more coverage in 2005 than in 2004, but it was predominantly negative in tone (>50%), due to the recall of Vioxx. McDonald?s also dropped in the media ranking, but, on the brighter side, the company also received less negative press (25%). Procter and Gamble?s acquisition of Gillette garnered the company a substantial amount of positive coverage and boosted its media presence ranking in comparison with 2004..
Companies that receive little media coverage, such as 3M, DuPont, Altria, Caterpillar International and Alcoa, need to be aware that in the event of a crisis of any sort, they stand to be at a greater risk to their reputation owing to low media presence and consequently fewer channels of communication..
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