New York Times tech columnist David Pogue has been banned from accepting certain speaking engagements with publicists that have been deemed in violation of the newspaper’s ethics policy.
The issue arose last week when Forbes published a story questioning whether Pogue’s participation in a Ragan Communications video seminar called “Pitch Me, Baby!” was in violation of the Times’ ethical code.
Today, the Times’ public editor, Arthur Brisbane writes that, after an “internal review[…] Pogue is barred from making any more speeches like this one to public relations professionals.”
The column cites the following rule in the ethics policy:
“Staff members may not advise individuals or organizations how to deal successfully with the news media (though they may of course explain the paper’s normal workings and steer outsiders to the appropriate Times person)….They should not take part in public relations workshops that charge admission or imply privileged access to Times people….”
Pogue is a freelancer with the paper, but is subject to the same rules as staffers. Going forward, Brisbane writes, Pogue will no longer participate in any “PR-related event or organization,” including Ragan.
Brisbane closes by citing the recent ProPublica story discussing the growing number of publicists. “Times readers deserve to be assured that journalists don’t get too cozy with the PR professionals who strive to influence coverage.”
What do you think about the decision? The comments section is open.
(PRNewser is part of mediabistro, which offers a ton of educational programs, not just for publicists, but for journalists, entrepreneurs, and those with digital interests. New York Times contributors and freelancers have served as instructors, which is paid work, and as conference speakers, which, with a few exceptions, is unpaid.)