When a new membership program raises question about access
Ron Fournier, the editor and publisher of Crain’s Detroit Business, writes Sunday about questions regarding its new membership program providing access to its reporters and editors.
Fournier writes, “‘Access for sale?’
“That was the headline on a blog post by public relations executive Maryann Sabo, who read emails about our new business model and assumed we were undermining the independence of the Crain’s newsroom.
“‘Ron,’ she wrote, ‘say it isn’t so.’
“It isn’t so.
“The fact is that reporters and editors are already accessible to the public, including public relations professionals like Sabo who pitch stories for clients. You can call us, email us or even corner us in public and try to influence our coverage. There’s nothing wrong with that access. It’s healthy. It makes us smarter and more accountable.
“But, when the journalist’s work is at hand, reporters and editors choose what to cover and how to cover it, no fear or favor.
“What we’re doing via Membership for our most loyal readers is to organize and normalize access.”
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