OLD Media Moves

Writer alleges former CEO paid her for articles

January 20, 2006

I have hesitated in posting anything about this because I don’t think that any business journalist would ever accept money from an executive. But I guess you never say never.

Reports from the Associated Press on Thursday and the New York Times on Friday state that a writer for the Birmingham Times, a black newspaper, was paid money to write articles favorable to former HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy during his trial last year. The writer also states that she showed some of her stories to Scrushy before they were published.

Scrushy’s attorney denied any wrongdoing, and the publisher of the paper said he had no knowledge that the writer, who is not a full-time staff member, was receiving money for the articles.

The Times story can be read here.

This should go without saying: As a business journalist, you should never accept money from someone you are writing about. It is a firing offense at every media outlet that I know.

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