Steve Jobs to journalism student - "Please leave us alone"

Steve Jobs to journalism student - "Please leave us alone"

Summary: Almost everyone involved in tech journalism who has had to deal with Apple has experienced the Apple PR black hole. But very few get a personal "Please leave us alone" from the man himself, Steve Jobs.

SHARE:

Almost everyone involved in tech journalism who has had to deal with Apple has experienced the Apple PR black hole. It's annoying, it's frustrating, and in an age where companies strive for more engagement, it's very unusual. But very few get a personal "Please leave us alone" from the man himself, Steve Jobs.

The Guardian has a story about Chelsea Isaacs, a student doing a journalism degree at Long Island University, got tired of the wall of silence from Apple PR channels and decided to approach the man himself. The exchange is detailed below:

From: Chelsea Isaacs

To: Steve Jobs

Subject: Re: Mr. Jobs - Student Journalist Concerned about Apple's MediaRelations Dept.

Dear Mr. Jobs,"

As a college student, I can honestly say that Apple has treated me very well; my iPod is basically the lifeline that gets me through the day, and thanks to Apple's Final Cut Pro, I aced last semester's video editing project. I was planning to buy a new Apple computer to add to my list of Apple favorites. Because I have had such good experiences as a college student using Apple products, I was incredibly surprised to find Apple's Media Relations Department to be absolutely unresponsive to my questions, which (as I had repeatedly told them in voicemail after voicemail) are vital to my academic grade as a student journalist.

For my journalism course, I am writing an article about the implementation of an iPad program at my school, the CW Post Campus of Long Island University.

The completion of this article is crucial to my grade in the class, and it may potentially get published in our university's newspaper. I had 3 quick questions regarding iPads, and wanted to obtain answers from the most credible source: Apple's Media Relations Department. I have called countless times throughout the week, leaving short, but detailed, messages which included my contact information and the date of my deadline. Today, I left my 6th message, which stressed the increasingly more urgent nature of the situation. It is now the end of the business day, and I have not received a call back. My deadline is tomorrow.

Mr. Jobs, I humbly ask why Apple is so wonderfully attentive to the needs of students, whether it be with the latest, greatest invention or the company's helpful customer service line, and yet, ironically, the Media Relations Department fails to answer any of my questions which are, as I have repeatedly told them, essential to my academic performance.

For colleges nationwide, Apple is at the forefront of improving the way we function in the academic environment, increasing the efficiency of conducting academic research, as well as sharing and communicating with our college communities. With such an emphasis on advancing our education system, why, then, has Apple's Media Relations team ignored my needs as a student journalist who is just trying to get a good grade?

In addition to the hypocrisy of ignoring student needs when they represent a company that does so much for our schools, the Media Relations reps are apparently, also failing to responsibly handle the inquiries of professional journalists on deadlines. Unfortunately, for a journalist in the professional world, lacking the answers they need on deadline day won't just cost them a grade; it could cost them their job.

Thank you very much for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Chelsea Kate Isaacs, Senior, CW Post - Long Island University

Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

---

From: Steve Jobs

To: Chelsea Isaacs

Subject: Re: Mr. Jobs - Student Journalist Concerned about Apple's Media Relations Dept.

Our goals do not include helping you get a good grade. Sorry.

Sent from my iPhone

---

From: Chelsea Isaacs

To: Steve Jobs

Subject: Re: Mr. Jobs - Student Journalist Concerned about Apple's Media Relations Dept.

Thank you for your reply. I never said that your goal should be to "help me get a good grade." Rather, I politely asked why your media relations team does not respond to emails, which consequently, decreases my chances of getting a good grade. But, forget about my individual situation; what about common courtesy, in general --- if you get a message from a client or customer, as an employee, isn't it your job to return the call? That's what I always thought. But I guess that's not one of your goals. Yes, you do have a creative approach, indeed.

Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

---

From: Steve Jobs

To: Chelsea Isaacs

Subject: Re: Mr. Jobs - Student Journalist Concerned about Apple's Media Relations Dept.

Nope. We have over 300 million users and we can't respond to their requests unless they involve a problem of some kind. Sorry.

Sent from my iPhone

---

From: Chelsea Isaacs

To: Steve Jobs

Subject: Re: Mr. Jobs - Student Journalist Concerned about Apple's Media Relations Dept.

You're absolutely right, and I do meet your criteria for being a customer who deserves a response:

1. I AM one of your 300 million users.

2. I DO have a problem; I need answers that only Apple Media Relations can answer.

Now, can they kindly respond to my request (my polite and friendly voice can be heard in the first 5 or 10 messages in their inbox). Please, I am on deadline.

I appreciate your help.

Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

---

From: Steve Jobs

To: Chelsea Isaacs

Subject: Re: Mr. Jobs - Student Journalist Concerned about Apple's MediaRelations Dept.

Please leave us alone.

Sent from my iPhone

Please, let that last response should be immortalised in a new Steve Jobs/Apple meme ...

Note: It's woth noting I've never had a personal email from Steve Jobs either, but that now seems like a good thing! Who knows what he might tell me to do ...

Seriously though, that's uncool. Sure, no one is owed a reply or help. There are plenty of reasons why requests for information or help are ignored and the person replying might not be Steve Jobs himself (although if it isn't, allowing a third-party to pretent is dangerous. But that said, not replying is very different to entering into a conversation about why no one is replying. That seems awfully arrogant, counter-productive and just plain rude.

Topics: Apple, Collaboration, Hardware, Mobility, Telcos

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

115 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Steve Jobs is a baby just like his zealots

    [i]Please leave us alone.[/i]

    Sure Steve. Are you going to return the favor? This means no more advertisements anywhere and no more of your "speeches" or "one more things".

    Or does that street not go both ways? You want to be in the public eye but you want the public eye to just shut up and buy your stuff.

    Typical Apple, just like its zealots.
    NonZealot
    • Pff. She should be happy she got a reply at all.

      @NonZealot ... Mr. Jobs was consistently polite and responded to her non-business related ramblings with consistent courtesy.
      Here's what Chelsea should do; print out his replies. Frame them. Go on about her business.
      HollywoodDog
      • A couple of tips for the would-be journalist ...

        * If you're asking someone for help, don't call them a hypocrite.
        * Pointing out repeatedly how polite you have been just comes across as whiny, desperate and unprofessional.

        HER tone is the one that is so incredibly arrogant and dripping with self-entitlement.

        <i>Our goals do not include helping you get a good grade. Sorry.</i>

        Exactly!
        RationalGuy
      • RE: Steve Jobs to journalism student -

        @HollywoodDog -Uh, You consider his replies courteous? I'd hate to see you in a public service role! If you are, God help your company. At the very least, Steve Jobs is conceited jerk who doesn't think ahead. This has the possibility of pissing off a lot of college students. I am a windows user, but if Steve Ballmer acted that way, I'd be royally pissed. Apple zealots need to stop drinking the koolaid and really press apple to get jobs out. He is going to be a detriment to apple. It seems like he's changed after the surgery.
        rcol4jc@...
    • The first answer is an excellent life lesson

      "It is not my job to make sure you get a good grade."

      If more people learned this, the world would be a better place.
      frgough
      • Spot on

        The sense of entitlement of the youth of today. Next she'll be telling Apple how they should run their company. Hear it all the time.
        Richard Flude
      • RE: Steve Jobs to journalism student -

        @frgough I disagree. It seems as though someone who's "been there" and has faced as much rejection as Steve Jobs has while he was looking to fulfill his destiny as one of the world's foremost communication and technology personalities would understand the plight of one college student who is looking to create a future for herself. No, it's not his job to get her a good grade. It seems as though she's doing a fine job in pursuing that herself. She has clearly chosen a subject for her article that she shows a lot of passion for. Steve Jobs may be everything he set out to be. But it's not as though she's asking him to reach into his deep pockets and pay for her college. She's asking for about ten minutes of somebody's time so she can get some answers. His replies left her no choice but to be creative with her approach in getting past the gatekeepers.

        Journalists, good and bad, are like anybody else. They have a job to do and if more people would be willing to give some answers to some relevant questions, THEN the world would be a better place. Less arrogance and self-importance from Jobs couldn't hurt, either.
        Galidari
    • RE: Steve Jobs to journalism student -

      @NonZealot Boy, you're always the first one out of the gate, aren't you?
      I12BPhil
    • RE: Steve Jobs to journalism student -

      @NonZealot

      comparing a convention where people have paid money to hear him talk, vs a private email conversation.

      Yeah, it may be the same exact thing to you, but maybe that's why you think your android is a excellent smartphone.

      /hint, vhs size, 1989 battery life
      jessedegenerate
      • My Android phone?

        @jessedegenerate
        I own an iPhone 4. It doesn't mean that I think Apple is perfect, unlike the Apple zealots on ZDNet.
        NonZealot
      • RE: Steve Jobs to journalism student -

        @jessedegenerate -My Android is an excellent smartphone thank you very much.
        rcol4jc@...
  • Funny

    I think she got her answer. ;-)
    statuskwo5
    • RE: Steve Jobs to journalism student -

      @statuskwo5
      yes, she did. She either didn't understand it, or didn't like it.
      either way, not a great journalist.
      CaptOska
  • RE: Steve Jobs to journalism student -

    While I have to agree that it is not Apple's job (Or Steve's) to help this girl get a good grade at the same time it's pretty screwed up their Media Relations people can't do their jobs and Steve Jobs seems to be encouraging this. And this "Please leave us alone" crap... What the hell is that about? Honestly that is an even more screwed up thing than the Apple Media Relations people not doing their jobs.
    athynz
    • What the hell it is about ...

      It's Apple Media Relations job to relate to the media. The real media. The actual professional media. Not student newspapers.

      If they can get to it, and if they are feeling especially generous, they might possible make time for a student who isn't annoying and climbing up their ass every five minutes. More than two messages in a month would be an annoyance.

      What this is about is a whiny, annoying, self-entitled college student thinks that she is just as important as a the CEO of multi-billion-dollar corporation. If this were Ballmer or Ellison or any of the other big company CEOs, I'd be saying the same thing.
      RationalGuy
      • Maybe it's just me but

        @RationalGuy it should not matter if this is a "real" newspaper or a student newspaper, Apple's Media Relations people took a good opportunity and screwed it up.

        It seems to me from a PR standpoint that the Apple Media Relations people should be inclined to answer her questions - now instead of a few minutes of time taken to make Ms. Isaacs happy they now have yet more egg on their face...
        athynz
      • No egg on their face

        @athynz Ms Issacs looks bad, Apple looks fine. Apple Media Relations is, I am sure, much too busy to answer every request from every student newspaper journalist-wanna-be that sends them requests. If they take a few minutes for each of them, that could be half of their week.

        The fact that she, by her own admission "called countless times throughout the week" tells anyone with a brain that she is was being annoying and unprofessional. Why would anyone want to, let alone feel obliged to call someone like that back?

        Ms. Issacs needs to learn her place, which is at the bottom of the bottom in terms of people's time priorities. She has no respect for that. She should be begging for, not demanding, their time. She got what she deserves.
        RationalGuy
      • Dude . . .

        @RationalGuy

        Student Journalists become REAL Journalists one day, and this isn't exactly the right way to win them over . . .
        JLHenry
      • You don't seem to understand which direction the "winning over" goes ...

        @JLHenry

        <i>Student Journalists become REAL Journalists one day, and this isn't exactly the right way to win them over . . .</i>

        Apple doesn't have to "win over" the tech press. The tech press line up for every word that Apple throws their way.
        RationalGuy
      • RE: Steve Jobs to journalism student -

        @RationalGuy

        1. A company that sells things should be able to answer questions from ANYONE. One need not be employed professionally to get an answer. If Apple wants to control that message, they'd better step up. Apple turned a soft piece on their new product into something else entirely.

        2. Old news is dead, and all the college papers probably get better circulation amongst Apple's customer base than the New York Times. If Apple only has time to answer one or the other, they're answering the wrong group.

        3. A college student is just as important as the CEO of a corporation. It's not like Jobs even makes anything. He's an arrogant salesman who apparently only has time for the compliant impressionable kids that don't raise their hands and ask questions.
        tkejlboom