On Thu, Oct 22, 2009 at 9:25 AM, Sean DALY <sdaly.be@gmail.com> wrote:
Yes, I agree that it's a good idea to set the record straight.
However, there is an ugly truth: the wider the coverage of anything,
the more errors there are... responding to them turns into
whack-a-mole.

Heh. I think that an exaggeration, but it can turn into that when not done properly.
 
To combat that, what's necessary is to go beyond error-correction to
influencing perceptions widely. When perceptions are positive enough,
Fedora users will whack the moles themselves, and clueless
commentators will educate themselves or lose credibility.

A key way to influence perceptions is to cultivate journalists. Nobody
likes to admit they made a mistake. Journalists get called clueless
and worse every day of the week, like everyone they generally accept
constructive criticism though. In this connection, Bob's comment was
exemplary: he politely set the record straight.

Bob's comment was exemplary, as were others. I'm not so quick to give this pair a pass on this one. In this case, you have ZDNet's Linux and Open Source bloggers -- a pair who SHOULD know that release cycles of the distros in question are roughly six months ("roughly" because OpenSUSE's is not exactly six; nine, I think, but that's close enough) -- writing something that, essentially, is false and worse, it's arguably slanted toward Microsoft.

Again, these two writers are the <steps_back_for_emphasis>LINUX AND OPEN SOURCE REPORTERS for ZDNet</steps_back_for_emphasis>. If they don't know that the larger distros -- Ubuntu especially, with their x.04/x.10 naming convention -- have a six-month cycle, then they really have no business covering Linux and Open Source for one of the largest, if not the largest, Web-based tech news portal.
 
What I'm saying is, make changing perceptions part of the plan.
Although the media usually wish to present accurate information, what
they really want is accurate information which is also timely,
interesting, and topical. This is where press releases can play a
major role. Many journalists with 4 stories to file in the day will be
happy to quickly adapt a well-written release and put it up.

Having been a newspaper editor for 32 years (which is what I do when I'm not promoting Fedora), you are right about the workload. More times than not, journalists appreciate being set straight when they're wrong, but more importantly they are immensely grateful for getting accurate and well-written information that they can glean (if not outright copy) for their stories.
 
When that
happens, you've made news, not reacted to it. Over time, awareness
rises within influencers, and next thing you know, most of them will
be able to write from memory that there are two Fedora releases per
year for example. Or whatever branding message you wish to spread -
that Fedora is high-quality, installs easily, etc.

This is true. But again, I would think anyone who had been covering Linux and Open Source for any length of time should know that release cycles for Ubuntu and Fedora have always been six months.
 
Journalists know that Windows 7 is make-or-break for Microsoft; just
look how MS is taking risks they haven't before such as selling PCs
for the first time ever and painting all their national websites
green.

I hope. Again many reporters in the mainstream media are happy to be spoon-fed whatever Microsoft provides them, so we should be vigilant about this.

The WinXP -> Win7 upgrade path is wipe and install... the same
as most WinXP -> GNU/Linux installs. So journalists know that now is
perhaps a better time than ever to talk about alternatives. When
Constantine launch time comes, perhaps a talking point to consider
beyond the great features is how upgrading to Fedora can be a better
choice than upgrading to Windows 7.

That would be great. Is there anything on the drawing board?

Larry Cafiero