Following today’s announcement about Dan Abrams’ new business venture, Abrams Research, questions have been raised about the ethical implications of one of the firm’s services: working journalists providing public relations advice to a paying client.
Gawker’s Ryan Tate has a point: “A general magazine editor, or blogger without a beat…though he may have no specific area of coverage, really should not be getting paid to answer questions about how a publication — like, say, his — might cover something when he may well have to decide how to cover that very thing a short time later, with the added complication of having been paid/bribed by the subject.”
Abrams addresses the topic with PRNewser: “No Forbes reporter, for example, is going to be part of a panel on how to get better media coverage from Forbes. It’s not happening. Period. We have contracts for prospective network members that require the disclosure of even a possible conflict which we intend to enforce vigorously. Finally, I think in the end if it’s bad for ‘journalism’ it’s bad for my business.”
Meanwhile, former Huffington Post editor Rachel Sklar, who is assisting Abrams with the start-up, tells us why she joined up…
“My role is I’m spearheading the database,” she tells TVNewser. “And being someone for Dan to bounce stuff off of as someone on the new media side.” Sklar says she was approached with the idea in mid-September, and started working with Abrams about a month later.
Abrams tells PRNewser, “This has been something I have thought about for over a year. It has taken on many shapes and forms but I am convinced this model is the best one particularly during this period of economic uncertainty.”