Marketwatch columnist has stake in tech company
Greg Sandovel of CNET News.com has a story stating that Marketwatch columnist Bambi Francisco was allowed to take an ownership stake in a technology company last year after receiving permission from her editors.
Sandovel wrote, “It’s unclear how large a stake Francisco received in Vator, which is backed by PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel. In an interview with CNET News.com, she wouldn’t disclose the size but acknowledged that she didn’t pay anything for her share of the company.
“Francisco also acknowledged that she has a hands-on role with Vator, co-hosting with Thiel a regular synopsis of the start-ups making their pitches. Her role in Vator was first reported in a little-noticed posting on gossip blog ValleyWag last fall.
“That Francisco was offered and accepted a stake in a company that operates in the industry she has covered for at least a decade is rare among journalists, who usually follow strict rules to prevent even the perception of a conflict of interest. That MarketWatch signed off on the deal is, to some, an even more remarkable sign that big media organizations are bending their traditional rules when it comes to online journalism.
“‘Good news organizations have checks and balances that protect the independence of the journalist,’ said Bob Steele, an ethics adviser at journalism think tank Poynter Institute. Steele spoke generally about journalism ethics and did not specifically discuss Francisco’s situation.”
Read more here. Sandovel notes that Francisco has not disclosed her relationship in anything she has written.