Re: An ethical question
Hmmm. I guess I am not as ethical as you all.
One thing I realized long, long ago, and very, very soon after I started to write for mass-market technology magazines, was that everything in every magazine is, essentially, PR.
I suppose that I've been very lucky in that most of my articles have been published in magazines that prided themselves on their independence.
In fact,once when an advertiser threatened to withdraw its advertising because of my opinions, the editor called the bluff.The publisher had a hissy fit, but, in the end, the advertiser didn't carry out the threat. Since the advertiser then went bankrupt six months later, there was justice in the world.
Another time, I wrote a very negative review with what were frankly some very cheap jokes in it (that is, after all, what negative reviews are for: to be amusing). However, the comments were so well-founder that the manufacturer of the product took me aside at a trade fair in New York and picked my brains about how to improve the product, which I thought showed tremendous class.
So, Bruce, if I were being given this opportunity, what I would think about is, "Is it possible for me to be quite positive when I discuss this product?" If so, I would take the project.
The verdict is still out on this one.
However,I will mention that one editor I consulted suggested that there was probably nothing wrong with the situation I described.His take is that the company is willing to grant access in the hopes that its products are reviewed fairly.So long as having that access doesn't influence the review, then he thinks that the relation would be legitimate.
I'm not sure that I buy this opinion, though. Just having special access to the company could be a tremendous pressure by itself.
Bruce Byfield bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com 604.421.7177
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