I've got two nice stories to share this week about how Plastics News benefitted by cooperating with other Crain publications. The first really started a week ago, on Feb. 1. Automotive News learned late in the day that Plastech Engineered Products Inc., the No. 6 injection molder in our ranking, had filed for Chapter 11. The news came too late for PN and AN deadlines (although we already had an AN story on Plastech's problems on Page 3 of our Feb. 4 issue). AN posted a story about the bankruptcy on its Web site late in the evening, and Phil Nussel, their special projects editor, emailed copies to me and to Crain's Detroit Business. I quickly plasticized it a bit and posted it on our site about 10 p.m. By sharing their scoop with us, I believe we beat the Wall Street Journal and the Detroit dailies with the news. I was pleased to see that many of our readers discovered the story over the weekend -- by Monday it had climbed near the top of both our "most emailed" and "most popular" story lists. (it's still in the top 3 on both lists for the past 30 days). But the cooperation was just beginning. On Monday, AN, CDB and PN started to work together on follow-up coverage, sharing sources and information on how Plastech's bankruptcy shut down some Chrysler assembly plants, and then on how the companies reached an agreement that allowed Chrysler to restart production. We posted several follow-up stories throughout the week. On Thursday, Rhoda Miel, our Detroit-based staff reporter, finished a story of her own on how other molders might get a chance to bid on Plastech's Chrysler work, and the many issues involved. Rhoda told AN about the story, and they were interested, so we shared the story on Thursday night. Both PN and AN posted it on our Web sites this morning. Until a few minutes ago, it was the lead story (top-right position) on AN's Web site, and if you click through you'll see Rhoda's byline, and full credit to Plastics News. The second story of cooperation involves the ongoing work that we've been doing with our Plastics News Global Group sister papers Plastics & Rubber Weekly and European Plastics News on the Sumitomo-Demag acquisition story. You'll recall that PN and our Croydon, England, friends broke this news back in January, days in advance of published reports in Japan and Europe. David Vink (EPN's senior editor in Dusseldorf, Germany), Steve Toloken (our staff reporter in Guangzhou, China) and Bill Bregar (our senior reporter in Akron, Ohio) worked together on that story. We've continued to track the story, and today it paid off with a big scoop: Steve confirmed with Sumitomo that its board of directors had signed a deal to buy Demag. Sumitomo provided Steve with a lot of detail, but declined comment. As soon as we had the confirmation, we brought David Vink into the loop. We emailed Sumitomo's information to him, and I called to see if he could quickly try to reach Demag officials before the end of the business day in Europe. David quickly reached Demag CEO Klaus Erkes and got some excellent comments -- far better than the "no comment" that we were half-expecting. David forwarded the comments to Steve, who folded them into his story, and we ended up with a double-byline story on the top of Page 1 in our Feb. 11 issue, and on our Web site. I believe that, once again, we are first in the world with this story. Steve and Rhoda did a great job working with their Crain colleagues, especially David Vink and Phil Nussel, on these big stories. I hope our readers appreciate their efforts. We love giving our readers the opportunity to be first in the world to learn about these big plastics-related stories. As Robert Grace, our editor and associate publisher, said today, these examples underscore the value of Crain's global news network, drawing on the expertise of our staff reporters in Guangzhou, Dusseldorf, Detroit and Akron. And I would also like to thank Ron Shinn, who suggested that I share the "story behind the stories" with our blog readers.
The story behind the stories
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