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There was a time when a senior technology company executive visiting New Zealand made the news pages.

No longer.

Even so, high-profile visits can still be useful for journalists.

Back in the day news travelled slowly to New Zealand. Big stories would arrive by Telex. We received overseas magazines, newspapers and press releases by airmail. Otherwise chatting to recently returned local executives was the quickest way to learn what was happening elsewhere.

Let’s do lunch

Lunch, it was usually lunch, with a visiting senior executive was a opportunity to find out what people were thinking about and where technology might go.

A journalist’s job is to share information with readers, so reports of these meetings would run as news or a news feature.

These days we get the big stuff at the same time as our readers.

There’s rarely any hard news; unless the exec is in town to ink a big deal. Or the visit is from someone like Trilogy’s John Stanton who is the main owner of 2degrees.

Meeting executives in the flesh, if only for a few moments, is still useful. So when you write about them in future, you’ve done the eyeball thing.

Time poor

We’re more pressed for time than ever. Journalists can’t afford to take the time for an event if there’s not a story at the end.

That’s why you rarely read about visiting executives these days unless they announce something earth-shattering.

Despite this, the events are helpful. They can give journalists a chance to meet local executives and key customers. Face-to-face trumps email or phone communications every time.

On the other hand, if the visiting bigwig is an arrogant tosser and his local underlings are too nervous to talk, it might not be helpful.