A public relations firm sent a pitch to a CNBC writer and said they it would pay for them to write about their client, writes CNBC.com managing editor Allen Wastler.
Wastler writes, “The outfit in question, Status Labs, appears to be a small shop operating out of Texas that, ironically, specializes in image/reputation management. Emails to them were unanswered and when contacted by phone, they hung up after the caller identified themselves as representing CNBC.
“There’s always been a tension between PR and journalism. And there have always been attempts by PR outfits to influence coverage. Usually it’s on a professional level and kept within limits.
“‘This pitch would violate three, if not four, of the provisions in our code of ethics,’ said George Johnson, chairman of the ethics and professional standards committee of the Public Relations Society of America. ‘…In fact, this is probably the clearest case I’ve seen of someone in violation.’
“And, major media institutions have strict standards. Indeed, the freelancer in this case made us aware of the pitch (and his refusal of it) knowing that if CNBC got the faintest whiff that he was engaging in any hanky-panky in his work for us, well, he’d no longer be working for us.”
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