Media Case Study: Andrea Johnson of EIA on the Media Furor Over Gibson Guitars and the Lacey Act

Posted by Lauren Hertel on Thursday, June 21 2012

In August 2011, federal marshals raided the Gibson Guitar Corporation in Tennessee, apparantly preparing to charge the famous builder of instruments with trafficking in illegally obtained wood. In the aftermath of the raid there was intense media attention on the company and its sourcing practices. Andrea Johnson of EIA was interviewed by NPR because of her previous work on Gibson's allegedly illegal sourcing practices in Madagascar. Unfortunately, she mis-spoke during the interview, saying Gibson "was on the ground in Madagascar getting a tour to understand whether they could possibly source illegally from that country."

"I used 'illegally' when I meant 'legally' in talking about the trip to Madagascar," she writes. "I didn't realize I'd done this until I was listening to the piece. I really wanted to be clear: the objective of that trip's organizers was to look into whether there were opportunities for 'good wood' sourcing, and in the end after seeing the risks, only Gibson continued to purchase."

Hear how Andrea resolved the issue with NPR and what it taught her about working with the media in the future.

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