From Washington to the Web: Digital Democratizes Lobbying

Financial institutions may win the "award" for worst year ever, but the automotive industry has begun to give banking a run for its money. Last month, the companies that once defined the America's industrial and entrepreneurial spirit found themselves skidding down a slippery slop into imminent financial ruin. Ford, Chrysler and--most iconic of all-- General Motors turned to Congressional leaders, lobbying hard for a bailout package worth billions to help reverse their devastating operating losses. The leaders of Detroit's Big Three--GM's Rick Wagoner, Ford's Alan Mulally and Chrysler's Robert Nardelli--made their way to Washington earlier this month to make their plea in person. The crisis has unfolded to reveal a number of communications nuances that will be critical to coming to any sort of solution, but lobbying--an art as much as a science--has emerged as the star of the show, and not in its traditional form (for an overview of lobbying as a form of communications, see sidebar on page 6).

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