PR Files: Tesla, and why researching your target media matters.

As most of you know (or not), my day job is in public relations. So, my post this evening ventures off into that arena…


Have you been following the hub bub between Tesla Motors and a New York Times writer? In short, Tesla provided NYT writer, John Broder, with one of their electric vehicles to test out and write up a review. Well, when Broder’s review came out, it was very negative and the powers-that-be at Tesla were not happy. Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla wrote a blog post, in an attempt to discredit Broder’s article.

In reading Musk’s blog post, this part jumped out at me (and, as it turns out, it caught the attention of the peeps at my job)…

“We assumed that the reporter would be fair and impartial, as has been our experience with The New York Times, an organization that prides itself on journalistic integrity. As a result, we did not think to read his past articles and were unaware of his outright disdain for electric cars. We were played for a fool and as a result, let down the cause of electric vehicles. For that, I am deeply sorry.”

You see, that there is a take-away – a lesson that we all should heed. Always, ALWAYS research your target media, before you pitch. If the PR folks at Tesla had done so, this mess may have been avoided.

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