On the Feb. 21 episode of ABC’s “Nightline,” the show got an unprecedented inside look at the Apple Foxconn factories in China, where new Apple products are mass produced. While the story about the products’ manufacturing was intriguing, equally compelling was how the network got the backstage pass in the first place.
Anchor Bill Weir reveals that years ago, he created a video on his MacBook using tropes prominently featured in Apple product commercials and sent it to Steve Jobs as a pitch. He wasn’t actually on the Apple beat — and he admits that he still feels guilty about stealing the beat from a colleague. Still, Weir writes, “I don’t regret it because I was genuinely taken with the second coming
of Jobs and was unabashedly fond of Apple’s products. My hope for a
sweeping profile led to my covering a few launches and every six months
we pitched them an ABC News special on the inner workings of Apple. They
always politely declined.”
Recently, however, Jobs’ memory has been “tarnished” by negative press originating at Foxconn, including tales of worker suicide and child laborers working obscene hours. Finally, Apple invited Weir and “Nightline” to join them in China during an audit by the Fair Labor Association.
“You being here is part of the openness, part of the learning, part of the change that Foxconn is undergoing,” Weir was told by Louis Woo, a former Apple executive who serves as an advisor to the Foxconn CEO. “Of course you can argue that we should have opened up five years ago. Well five years ago, we are under the radar screen, nobody really knows us, we are doing well. Why should I open it up?”
You watch some of the “Nightline” profile above, but in the meantime, watch the video pitch that Weir sent to Jobs below. It’s utterly charming.