Re: An ethical question

Subject: Re: An ethical question
From: Doc <dlettvin -at- attbi -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 12 Jul 2002 10:40:05 -0400

I would have qualms too.

I understand the reality that journalists and reviewers facing
deadlines don't even rewrite the press releases they receive before
putting their byline on the top.

I get irritated by advertisements designed to look like news articles.

I've written reviews. I am comfortable making recommendations for
software. But I am uncomfortable getting paid by the company that I am

I recommended a piece of software recently. The company that made it
offered me a t shirt or ball cap for having mentioned them. Even
though the offer was made after the fact, it made me uncomfortable.

Some might consider me overly punctilious.

Here are two quotes that might help ...

"In an age that is utterly corrupt, the best
policy is to do as others do."
? Marquis de Sade

"A little virtue
will not hurt you."
--Piet Hein

I think that by asking the question you may have answered it yourself.
South Hamilton, MA

"You cannot grow a beard in a moment of passion." - G.K. Chesterton

On Thu, 11 Jul 2002 14:33:49 -0700, Bruce Byfield
<bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com> wrote:

>I'm curious what list members think about a situation that has arisen
>this week:
>Besides doing marcom and technical writing, I also do some computer
>journalism. This week, a PR person contacted me about "collaborating"
>with a company. At first, the comments suggested that the intent was to
>produce some marketing collateral. However, further e-mails made clear
>that the point was to cooperate in writing reviews about the company's
>I replied that any reviews would be completely independent, and would
>need to be based on personal testing. The reply suggests that this is
>fine.However, I'm still uneasy.
>I realize that many people believe that journalists routinely establish
>this kind of special relation with the makers of the products that they
>are discussing. However, I have never worked this way. Nor, so far as I
>know, neither have the journalists I know best. Nor, when I've been
>doing marketing work myself, have I done more than send complementary
>copies of products to recognized reviewers who might be interested in
>the product or who requested copies.
>I'm polling a couple of editors and journalists, but I'm interested in
>other opinions. So, the question is: am I being overly-punctilious? Or
>is the stiuation as ethically questionable as I tend to think?

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