by Jay Hamilton
When reporter Dan Chapman from the Atlanta Journal Constitution (AJC) called and asked would I assist him in writing a business article, I was internally hesitant. Due to our industry receiving a lot of bad newspaper press over the last six months I certainly did not want to assist someone in tormenting us.
I was concerned it was going to be the same old, same old where the reporter pretends to be writing a positive article only to take your positive comments and turn them into something negative.
My goal was to get ahead of the title wave with the AJC before they started picking up on all of the New York Times and Bloomberg articles that had such a negative twist on our industry over the last 90 days.
So when the AJC reporter called and told me he was writing an article on manufactured housing and wanted some stats on how many foreclosures were in the Georgia Market, I just decided to embrace his reporting and started giving information verbally and through email about the industry in its entirety.
I gave Chapman information on the whole picture of the industry, even the history of how and where our product originated.
I set up a tour of a retailers location, a tour of a factory and a tour of some communities without him even asking for it.
In other words we – our association members – created the whole picture for him versus what he wanted for his original limited scope of foreclosure information.
At the end he said, “I will treat you well because you did not hide the negative industry issues from me.”
“You gave me both, the positives and the negatives,” Dan Chapman said.
We treated him like a potential customer and not a reporter. Yes, he did misquote some stats, yes he did use “mobile homes” instead of “manufactured homes” against my wishes. Yes he did speak about a few unpleasant things in our industry such as the chicken house workers whom we sell too.
But overall it was positive for us as an industry and not negative.
Everyone in our state’s industry knows that North Georgia Retailer Vivian’s Homes has a professional operation and it showed when Dan visited them. He was very impressed.
I think the one deciding factor in whether Dan wrote a positive article or a negative article was his visit to Vivian’s Homes and the Countryside Communities. He continued to comment was how hard everyone in our industry has fought to maintain access to affordable housing for average Georgians.
Attached is the article Dan published in the AJC. ##
C. Jay Hamilton
Georgia Manufactured Housing Association
199 East Main Street
Forsyth, Georgia 31029
Phone : (478) 994-0006
Cell : (478) 394-5114
(Image credits: GMHA)