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TLAB Pressed

Phil Harvey
1/27/2009

5:30 PM -- Almost as soon as I finished reading our coverage of Tellabs Inc. (Nasdaq: TLAB; Frankfurt: BTLA) -- see here and here -- today, I was asked by a firm representing Tellabs to take a survey about the company's media perception in 2008.

If you don't work in PR, these media surveys are (well, were) top-secret exchanges between journalists and PR firms to help the PR firms find out how big of a stinker their clients really are before the PR firm exhausts all of its goodwill with the press trying to get the client covered. And I'm only half-kidding.

But I usually don't fill out media surveys because they're asking for the opinion of someone who doesn't have a rooting interest. In one part, it asks if my opinion of Tellabs changed in 2008? Do I have a more negative opinion? A more positive opinion?

I should answer that my opinion hasn't changed, since that would make someone scramble to find out what my opinion was previously. (And if someone does find out, they should call, because I haven't got a clue.)

What I can glean from the survey is that Tellabs wants to be thought of as a leader in optical networking, mobile backhaul, and some nebulous thing called "the data market." Tellabs wants to provide access to senior executives, when possible, and it wants to seem at least as good as, if not better than, its competitors, if the survey questions are any indicator.

I would suggest that good press is always attainable by simply doing your job, serving your shareholders, keeping score, and having the bare facts and figures that back up your claims accessible online at a moment's notice.

Around here we're partial to covering companies that are themselves good stories. And even when we're beating up on you, it still means you're more interesting than, say... wait a minute... Normally, I'd say Tellabs. I curse you, media survey!

Anyway, another question in the media survey caught my eye: "Any additional comments you would like to share with the Tellabs public relations team?"

My answer: "Yes. When I go meetings at Tellabs HQ, I want a bowl of Peanut M&M's within reach at all times. Make sure no one stands behind me while I'm conducting interviews. And I don't want to see anyone on campus wearing orange. Orange makes me furious. Thank you."

Well, they asked.

— Phil Harvey, Editor, Light Reading

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