Success and Ethics

Cemil Ozyurt
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Pittsburg, a small city with a population of 340,000, is home to the central offices of seven of the USA’s top 500 companies. The companies create 50 billion dollars worth of business volume in the city. Colorado, which in contrast has a population of 4.5 million, is home to 10 of the biggest companies and these companies create an economic cushion of 72 billion dollars.

The reason why I feel both envious and appreciative of the business ethics of Americans is that they use their ethical behaviors to reach their goals with patience and attention. That is the reason why a firm that follows the same route in Pennsylvania or Colorado is able to get on the top 500 list. The difference in geographical disadvantages or regional development is not a barrier to becoming a big company.

When I paid a visit to the Wall Street Journal, the department that is responsible for advertising pages caught my attention. Most of the new products that had just entered the market were lying around on top of shelves and under tables just waiting to get noticed by the USA’s second best selling newspaper’s journalists. The reporter that happened to be our guide said that the test products they receive are donated to a union which runs a charity for children. None of the gifts was left for the reporters. The Wall Street Journal, by following its core principles, has reached a daily circulation of 1,750,000, and if the internet subscribers are counted in this, the number goes to over 2 million.

A New York Times reporter on the technology beat, while sharing his experiences, said that he was not allowed to get a discount on the products of those telephone companies that he did reports on. He explained that the reason was that the newspaper administration did not allow reporters to establish a relationship with news sources. Though a local newspaper, the New York Times is one of the most respected papers in the US and has a circulation of over 1 million. 11 million readers log on to the internet to read the electronic version.

When I told my professor in school, who had been a news editor at the New York Times for about 10 years, that a five star hotel in Turkey had invited reporters from various newspapers to America to be their guests for a week, I got a very interesting answer: “Big newspapers pay for their reporters’ expenses themselves. If reporters are doing a job, a reputable newspaper will not allow anyone else to pay the hotel bill.”

The way news is looked at is important in protecting corporate integrity as well. For example, Jack Kelley, one of USA Today’s best-known journalists, was let go last year because of his fabricated news reports. The newspaper administration, forced their successful and effective editor-in-chief of 21 years, Karen Jurgensen, to quit together with Kelley. Jurgen’s resignation was a good example which showed that the reporter is not the only one who is responsible for publishing fraudulent news items.

The examples shown above are little clues that point to the reasons why organizations are so big. What makes some firms grow a firm big is the combination of its principles, business morals, and the respect it has for its customer or reader. This applies not only to the media but also to other customer-based sectors. In short, you might be a holding company or multi-corporate enterprise, but without principals and business morals, you’ll never break the limits and reach a higher level.     

(July 2005, 17th Issue)   
Last modified onSaturday, 06 May 2017 10:07