'A Compelling Need'
One reporter's struggle to get an interview with Dowling's darling
November 01, 2007
The cover of the most recent issue of Pacific Edge Magazine (Vol. 2, Issue 3) features Dowling Company's Jennifer Stites. A Harvard graduate and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)-certified professional, Stites is Dowling's "Green Development Manager"? and a fresh new face in the world of environmentally friendly development.
"I've always been more interested in the practical side of building science,"? Stites told Pacific Edge. "And my position here lets me combine my love of the outdoors with responsible building practices."?
Eager for more details on how Stites combines "responsible building practices"? with very controversial Dowling projects like the development of the Makena coastline that have local environmentalists howling, I tried to set up an interview with Stites. Here's how it went:
Oct. 8, 2007—7:46 a.m.
My name is Jared Libby and I am a freelance reporter here on Maui. I am interested in a feature piece on you and your position with Dowling Co. You have been receiving some attention from the press lately (Pacific Edge)—great cover shot by the way. I would like to get you together with some of the people who oppose such developments as Makena Maluaka (i.e. Sierra Club) and initiate a conversation between the two camps. I think this will be a great opportunity to answer some of your (Dowling's) critics and get your side of things into an alternative publication like Maui Time Weekly.
Please get back to me when you have the time and we can arrange an interview.
Oct. 8—6:15 pm
Thanks for the request. I will have Ruth Limtiaco who handles this portion of our business contact you to discuss the details.
Oct. 10—11:44 a.m.
Our company represents Dowling Company and coordinates media relations. I understand that you would like to do an interview with Jennifer Stites.
As you are a freelance writer, may I inquire as to what publication you are on assignment for? Please feel free to call my office to discuss the interview.
Oct. 10—8:40 p.m.
Thank you for getting back to me. The article/interview with Jennifer Stites is for Maui Time Weekly. I have been published with them several times over the past two years. You are welcome to contact Anthony Pignataro (editor) for verification. Please let me know where we go from here. Many times I will simply email a set of questions, which may work best in this case so the replies can be run by your office before going on the record. I would also be happy to meet with Jennifer in person.
Looking forward to your reply,
[ONE WEEK LATER]
Oct. 16—9:56 a.m.
I have yet to hear back from you regarding my interview request with Jennifer Stites from Dowling Co. Just wanted to follow up with you on this and I hope we can set something up soon. Thanks for your time.
Oct. 17—6:16 a.m.
Jared... I'm very sorry; I apologize for not getting back to you. I have been on Kauai and just returned tonight. Actually, because we just released the Dowling newsletter—which is mailed to all households on Maui and which features an update on Maluaka in it, we don't feel there is a compelling need to proceed with this interview. I would be happy to talk further with you if you would like to give me a call.
Oct. 18—7:52 a.m.
I'm afraid I was not clear on the subject of the article I am writing. Dowling Co.'s push to go green and the recent exposure Ms. Stites herself has received as the new face of this move has been refuted by some groups here on Maui. (i.e. Sierra Club and other environmentalists) Essentially my article will be a dialogue between Dowling/Stites and those who think going green is just a facade. This is an opportunity for Dowling to answer their critics and I can only say I strongly urge them to take it. A company-sponsored newsletter is no substitute for an honest discussion in a public forum.
Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing back from you soon.
Oct. 18—7:59 p.m.
Jared, I am glad you explained this further to me; because this is a debate forum; not a media interview. If Dowling Company needs to validate itself further with environmental groups, the best way for that to happen is by individual outreach; and that is what I will recommend.
Oct. 19—8:30 a.m.
By "individual outreach"? you mean the interview is still off? Just want to be sure.
Thanks for your time
Oct. 19—6:44 p.m.
Yes, that is what I meant.
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