Media Moves

Real estate editors and their ethics

April 30, 2013

Posted by Chris Roush

Ira Stoll of Reason writes about how the real estate editor of the New York Daily News is also on the payroll of a real estate company’s glossy magazine.

Stoll writes, “If this were a oil-company executive talking up his own interests, or a banker, the press or politicians would be tearing his claims apart. But for some reason, the real estate brokers get a pass. Maybe, as others have suggested, it’s because everyone’s mom’s friend seems to be a real estate broker, while Wall Street bankers or derivatives traders seem to be more remote and better paid.

“And maybe the double standard is for the best — the last thing we need, after all, is another American industry hauled before Congress or saddled with unworkable and expensive regulations. It’s not as if the real estate brokers and home builders felt no pain at all; plenty of them had slow years after the financial crisis.

“One other possible explanation of why Herman’s claims don’t receive critical scrutiny in the press is that the editors are on her payroll. And by that I mean not that Elliman is a large advertiser, or that it paid to insert the glossy magazine into newspapers, though both those things are true; no — the editors are literally (paging Joe Biden) on her payroll. The ‘contributors’ page of Elliman magazine lists both the features director of T, The New York Times Style Magazine, Maura Egan, and the real estate editor at the New York Daily News, Jason Sheftell.

“Sheftell told me he holds the ethics of the journalistic profession in the highest esteem, and that his work for Elliman ‘is vital to conveying to my readers how these firms — big and small — operate.’ By this logic, political editors should do paid freelance work on the side for candidates, or for magazines run by political parties.

“Sheftell declined to say how much he was paid by the real estate company. But given how affordable housing prices are these days, who knows — it may just be enough to help make that down payment, so long as he’s ‘prepared to move quickly.'”

Read more here.

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