Friday, April 27, 2007

Putney does the hokey pokey, Herald plays hide and seek

He puts his left foot in, he takes his left foot out.

From the "I haven't found the time to blog about this yet but should have" file...

Channel 10 political analyst and Herald contributor Michael Putney took a position with an investment bank as a PR hack and then decided against it. He had been planning on keeping both of his journo gigs while writing letters and press releases for the investment bank. In finally not accepting the position Putney avoided further scrutiny and debate about whether its proper for a journalist to collect a paycheck from an entity he might someday have to cover. The question became how realistic is it that he would in fact have to cover that entity and that industry.

Other local journos are working as spokespersons for companies that are ostensibly out of their area of expertise like Oscar Haza, the Spanish language political analyst for WQBA and channel 41 who is shilling for a local medicare HMO.

I don't know what really make of the situation but my instinct tells me that if journalism isn't paying you enough money then you need to make a career change. It's unseemly to have supposedly impartial and unbiased people using their credibility to sell products. The same principal behind the conflict of interest firings during the Marti Moonlighters scandal would seem to be at play here. Avoid the appearance of...

Interestingly the intitial story about Putney taking the PR gig has been replaced by the one announcing he won't take the gig. In a sense the Herald erased the news it had published on its site. I wonder how ethical that is. The Herald should have updated the story with a second piece and not written over the original piece.

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