Reading between the lines

Reading between the lines

Last month I was fortunate enough to be the guest of Cisco Systems at its annual Networkers' conference on the Gold Coast. While there I was also fortunate enough to witness something few journalists get to see - a call to arms to business partners from Cisco MD Gary Jackson in the face of impending negative coverage. Jackson warned partners to expect more of the same, believing Cisco to be the subject of a negative campaign by certain sections of the media, due primarily to it being number one in its field. He asked partners to decide for themselves what to believe, and not let negative press influence their decisions.

As Cisco is the largest networking player, it faces heightened levels of scrutiny and is open to greater levels of attack through the press from its competition. This might otherwise be called the tall poppy syndrome. Jackson would well remember this from his days spent heading up Microsoft in Australia.

Jackson's message was for business partners not to take everything they read about Cisco as absolute truth.

Unfortunately, his message is also a fair one.

As journalists we endeavour to present news and information in the most impartial manner possible. However, as human beings it is fair to say that we are all open to influences of one degree or another, in what we read and who we talk to.

Jackson believes it is currently flavour of the month to bash Cisco. He may or may not be right - you will know yourselves the correct position. While there is often fire to accompany the smoke, it is always wise to bear in mind prevailing attitudes and reasoning. Always remember to look beyond what is written in a story to what lies behind it. Every vendor, business partner and user has an agenda, and most are now skilled at using the media to express them.

So if you ever disagree with something you read, or know it to be wrong, let us know. As journalists we are charged with presenting facts in the most concise and impartial form possible. No journalist is above criticism, and some of us are even prepared to admit we get things wrong.

Brad Howarth

Tel(02) 9902 2748 Fax (02) 9439 5512

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