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by Kathleen Moore

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Send me your secret press releases

By Kathleen Moore
Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Just call me the illegal disseminator.

Every week or so, I get a confidential press release. Yes, you read that right. All I can guess is, they want to tell me about it, but they want me to keep it a secret.

Either that or their employers think their workers are much more likely to be blabbing corporate secrets than sending out private press releases during the workday.

You see, many corporate e-mail servers add a standard disclaimer to the end of every email. It generally says that the recipient is prohibited from allowing others to review, disclose, copy, disseminate, distribute or use any information included in the e-mail.

I can only imagine what they would think if the recipient actually went ahead and published the e-mail in a newspaper. Heavens forbid!

But that’s not all. The disclaimer I got today went so far as to emphasize that my e-mail was NOT A PUBLIC DOCUMENT. Why? Because it “may contain information that is confidential, privileged, or legally protected.”

Wow. This is heavy stuff. Should I read it in a secure location?

Being the reckless reporter that I am, I opened the e-mail right there in public view in the middle of the newsroom. I was hoping to see shocking revelations about a corrupt local politician, or a secret report about contaminated drinking water, or at least an incriminating e-mail stolen by a corporate whistleblower.

Alas, it was not to be. Instead I have been secretly handed an announcement for a jazz reception and book signing.

I know the e-mail says I’m not supposed to make this public, but in the interests of transparency, I’ll pass it along: authors Willie Tolliver and Steve Burghardt will be reading from their book at 6 p.m. Oct. 28 at the Best Western Sovereign Hotel in Albany.

You never know what they’ll say, considering the secretive nature of their announcement, but I can tell you they promise to discuss “transformative leadership,” which will involve explaining why the glass is always full.

Knock on the side door to get in. The code word is “disseminate.”

 

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