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ver been to a press conference? It’s weird. There’s a podium and stage lighting. TV cameras. Boom mics. And there are journalists. Real journalists. Next to you is a guy from the New York Times, on the other side of you is a guy from Fortune. They have digital voice recorders and degrees from Columbia and deadlines. You were the editor of your high school newspaper (for one year, and that was 20 years ago) and your pen – the one the Ford PR people gave you, thank God, because you forgot to bring yours – doesn’t work. The only thing you have in common with any of them is that like many of these seasoned pros, you are hungover and cynical.

I’d flown out to Detroit – Dearborn, to be be precise, home of the Ford Motor Company’s World Headquarters – the night before, the sole male member of a group of bloggers invited to cover this event. Ford would provide transportation, food, and lodging. We’d be privy to a big announcement: Ford would be unveiling a new safety innovation. We’d also get to have breakfast with Ford executives, and get a tour of the Safety Lab. The Safety Lab! Images of cars being smashed and crash test dummies flying through windshields danced in my head. Breaking stuff is cool. Of course I wanted to go.