Case Study No. 2948: McGraw-Hill Uses Media to Attack Prior Restraint Decision


Just as The McGraw-Hill Companies [MHP], based in Manhattan, was crafting a new corporate image -- that it was more than just a standard ink-on-paper informations company -- it was confronted with a rare politically-charged crisis that would prove to be a PR diamond-in-the-rough. On Sept. 13, 1995, hours before Business Week was to go to press with a startling investigative news story, a restraint order was faxed to MGHC bringing its flagship publication to a screeching halt. To the amazement of Ken Vittor, The McGraw-Hill Companies (MGHC) senior vice president and general counsel, the Business Week story, which revealed a business controversy and litigation between Procter & Gamble [PG] and Bankers Trust Company [BNTA], was being held hostage because an Ohio district court judge objected to information in the article that came from sealed court records. All of a sudden, MGHC found itself on the front lines battling for First Amendment rights, not only for Business Week and its other publications, but for all media.

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